Free Mike Hawash
April 08, 2003
The Secrecy And Lack Of Due Process Continues


Intel Coder Not Going Anywhere

By Leander Kahney for Wired News.


About 100 supporters gathered outside Portland's Federal Courthouse to protest Monday's secret hearing for Mike Hawash. The 38-year-old American citizen of Arab descent, was arrested by the FBI's Terrorist Task Force on the morning of March 20 as he appeared for work at Intel.Hawash will be held until at least the end of April, according to a court order released on Monday afternoon. The Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned Hawash's arrest, which it characterized as an abuse of the material witness statute. The 1984 statute was designed to prevent nervous or hostile witnesses from fleeing before a trial.

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Intel Coder Not Going Anywhere

By Leander Kahney | Also by this reporter Page 1 of 2 next

02:00 AM Apr. 08, 2003 PT

Intel programmer Mike Hawash, detained as a witness by federal authorities in what appears to be a terrorism probe, will be held until at least the end of April, according to a court order released on Monday afternoon.

For the last couple of weeks, Hawash has been held at a federal prison in Sheridan, about 50 miles south of Portland. Hawash, a 38-year-old American citizen of Arab descent, was arrested by the FBI's Terrorist Task Force on the morning of March 20 as he appeared for work at Intel.
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About 100 supporters gathered outside Portland's Federal Courthouse to protest Monday's secret hearing for Mike Hawash. The 38-year-old American citizen of Arab descent, was arrested by the FBI's Terrorist Task Force on the morning of March 20 as he appeared for work at Intel.Hawash will be held until at least the end of April, according to a court order released on Monday afternoon. The Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned Hawash's arrest, which it characterized as an abuse of the material witness statute. The 1984 statute was designed to prevent nervous or hostile witnesses from fleeing before a trial.
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Hawash will continue to be detained as a "material witness" pending a grand jury investigation, the nature of which remains a secret, according to an order issued by federal Judge Robert Jones.

The order compels authorities to present Hawash to a grand jury before April 25, or get a deposition from him.

The order was issued following a secret detention hearing at a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, on Monday morning. Another secret detention hearing will be held on April 29, the order said.

The judge's order is the first confirmation from authorities that Hawash is in custody as a material witness.

Prior to the order, authorities refused to confirm or deny any aspect of the case, citing a gag order. Even Monday's hearing was a secret, which authorities refused to confirm or deny took place, despite the attendance of four character witnesses called on Hawash's behalf and about 100 supporters protesting outside Portland's Federal Courthouse.

Though Judge Jones' order makes no mention of the FBI's Terrorism Task Force, nor provides any clues to the nature of the investigation, it suggests that Hawash is being held in secret to prevent any compromise of a grand jury investigation.

"Based on my examination of the affidavit supporting Hawash's arrest, I conclude that the detention hearing must be closed to the public because of the potential that the related grand jury proceedings may be compromised," Judge Jones wrote. Later in the order Judge Jones said, "I conclude by clear and convincing evidence that the material witness must be detained, but not indefinitely."

Steven McGeady, a former Intel executive who is spearheading a campaign to free Hawash, said he was very disappointed the judge didn't grant Hawash bail.

"We are outraged that the judge failed to consider the implausibility of Mike as a flight risk," McGeady wrote in an e-mail." The order barely addressed this -- it appears that the judge merely acquiesced to the government's desires."

It also came out on Monday that the day Hawash was arrested, his wife Lisa was served with a subpoena to appear as a material witness before a grand jury.

The subpoena was originally dated for the following day, March 21, but Lisa's attorney managed to get a postponement until this Wednesday, April 9, according to friends of the couple. It isn't clear why Hawash was detained, yet his wife, who is American-born, wasn't.

Despite the secrecy, Hawash's case is drawing increasing attention. Hawash's congressman, Earl Blumenauer, (D-Ore.), will raise Hawash's case later in the week in the House.

"He's very concerned," said Kathie Eastman, Blumenauer's press secretary. "This is just something that should not be happening in this country. Of course, we don't know what it's about, but we want information on why."

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Intel Coder Not Going Anywhere

By Leander Kahney | Also by this reporter back Page 2 of 2

02:00 AM Apr. 08, 2003 PT

On Monday afternoon, Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden requested a confidential briefing about the case from the FBI. As a member of the Senate Intelligence committee, Wyden has the security clearance to hear classified information, said his spokesman Josh Kardon.

Last week, Sen. Wyden wrote a letter to Oregon's U.S. Attorney, but received scant information, again because of the gag order.
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About 100 supporters gathered outside Portland's Federal Courthouse to protest Monday's secret hearing for Mike Hawash. The 38-year-old American citizen of Arab descent, was arrested by the FBI's Terrorist Task Force on the morning of March 20 as he appeared for work at Intel.Hawash will be held until at least the end of April, according to a court order released on Monday afternoon. The Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned Hawash's arrest, which it characterized as an abuse of the material witness statute. The 1984 statute was designed to prevent nervous or hostile witnesses from fleeing before a trial.

"The senator doesn't have enough information on the details to have an opinion," said Kardon. "That's why he's asking questions."

The Oregon branch of the American Civil Liberties Union condemned Hawash's arrest, which it characterized as an abuse of the material witness statute. The 1984 statute was designed to prevent nervous or hostile witnesses from fleeing before a trial.

Oregon ACLU's executive director David Fidanque said the Department of Justice had used the statute to detain dozens of people in anti-terrorist investigations without having enough evidence to charge them with crimes.

"There's no question the Department of Justice has been abusing the material witness statute in their campaign to put pressure on Muslim and Arab Americans," he said. "There's no way to know what the government is after in Mr. Hawash's case, but we're very concerned about the way he's being treated, and dozens of other people in similar situations."

Authorities have detained at least 44 other material witnesses in probes following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to an investigation by The Washington Post.

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