Five Years of Injustice for Muhanad Al Farekh

 

Background History

Muhanad arrived to Winnipeg with his brother in the summer of 2004, to reside with his uncle and grandmother in preparation for high school and pursuant university education. Muhanad attended Nelson McIntyre High school and graduated with good standing soon thereafter. Upon graduating from high school, Muhanad joined the University of Manitoba to complete his studies in business. While at the University of Manitoba, Muhanad was on the dean’s honour list and excelled with his academic achievements.  Muhanad moved out of his grandmother’s house in the summer of 2005 to live with his brother in an apartment close to the University. While attending university, he met several individuals some of whom included Farid Imam and Maywand Yar.

Muhanad lived a cheerful university life, filled with vibrant social life and extra curricular activities. Muhanad had participated in many charitable events and volunteered in many occasions to help with organizing and orchestrating events that were geared for greater community benefit.  

In 2006 Muhanad travelled with his friends to China, where he purchased some goods and brought them back with him as a business venture. Soon after, he organized yet another trip with his friends to Saudi Arabia for the annual muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj, a trip that Muslims make to Mecca once per year to commemorate prophet Ibrahim and Ismail’s sacrifices as did Prophet Muhammad.

Upon his return, Muhanad decided to leave again with his friends to Pakistan. On his departure, he informed his father that he will be living in Pakistan. After some discussions between him and his family, the family accepted Muhanad’s choices. Approximately one week later, Mahmoud, Muhanad’s father, traveled from UAE to meet Muhanad in Pakistan, to ensure Muhanad was safe in his new environment and to visit with him. Once there, Mahmoud traveled with Muhanad and went sightseeing and viewed a university in Peshawar. There the two met the dean of Islamic Studies, as Muhanad had contemplated pursuing these studies in the future. Since Muhanad was not sure he’d be staying there, he kept most of his belongings in his room back at his grandmother’s house in Winnipeg.

Back in Canada, one of his friends’ family, Maywand, had reported their son as missing. This initiated a missing person’s investigation. Muhanad was not considered as missing by his family at that time, and therefore, because his family knew his whereabouts, they were not concerned for him.

Rumors spread that Maywand had intended to join illicit organizations, and this rumor circulated to include Muhanad as well. This was not true, as Muhanad had no knowledge or intentions of joining in these organizations or participating in their activities. Instead, Muhanad is thought to have joined the Daawah (missionary) organization that calls for invigorating the spirit of Islam and engages in charitable work to help the poor in the less fortunate countries.

Muhanad Al Farekh’s Trial

For the past five years Muhanad has been subjected to physical and mental torture. Muhanad was captured by the Pakistani authorities where he was placed in a dungeon, abused and denied his rights as an American citizen.

The Pakistani authorities are infamous for their very poor human rights record, and notorious for mistreating and abusing their, in many instances, unlawfully detained prisoners. Muhanad had no access to his government’s support systems, he was not afforded an attorney to defend him, nor was he even provided with access to a family or friends that could help him in his predicament while detained by the Pakistanies.

In April, 2015, Muhanad was finally transported to the USA on charges many of which were devised, perhaps even fabricated, after the initial indictment was authored. Muhanad was denied access to his family, was not given his rights to call for his own attorney, and was instead assigned a publically funded defender to represent him in his case.

Ever since Muhanad was placed in solitary confinement with very limited access to the outside world. Solitary confinement causes many deleterious effects on people and diminishes their mental and physical abilities. Once captured by the US authorities, Muhanad has been placed under the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) (need a link to SAM’s here) which are notoriously inhumane measures that garnered many legal scholars’ criticisms (link to the video “why US prisons need to abolish solitary confinement).   

Pursuant to his inhumane and unlawful detention, Muhanad was put on a sham trial where he was denied his constitutional rights to access information about his case. An accused is entitled to access the materials in the prosecution’s possession regarding his/her case to enable him from putting up a defense. Instead, Muhanad’s his lawyer was denied access to this valuable information relevant to his case, under the pretext of fearing jeopardize“national security,” even though his attorney had obtained the appropriate security clearance that would have enabled him to review this classified information (link to the CIPA opinion). Moreover, not only was access to the information denied, the prosecution met with the judge outside the presence of Muhanad’s defense attorney. Instead, the judge decided that providing mere summaries of this information was sufficient.

During the trial much of the evidence presented against Muhanad was hearsay, irrelevant, or improperly authenticated. Muhanad’s lawyers were overwhelmed and under staffed in comparison to the huge prosecution team who had endless resources, and many members, working at their fullest to shut down any opportunity for the truth to be presented.