MARCH, RALLY, AND PANEL DISCUSSION ON AUGUST 4 WILL MARK THIRTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ARRESTS OF ALBANY POLITICAL PRISONERS AREF AND HOSSAIN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Lynne Jackson, (518) 366-7324, lynnejackson@mac.com

 

MARCH, RALLY, AND PANEL DISCUSSION ON AUGUST 4 WILL MARK THIRTEENTH ANNIVERSARY OF ARRESTS

OF ALBANY POLITICAL PRISONERS AREF AND HOSSAIN

It has been thirteen long years since the FBI framed and arrested Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain, two Albany Muslims, on August 4, 2004 in a phony sting operation. Despite the lack of evidence, the men were tried, convicted, and sent hundreds of miles away from home to serve 15-year prison sentences. This year on Friday, August 4, as for the past eleven years since their convictions in 2006, a coalition of activist groups will commemorate their arrests so our community will not forget how the government entrapped these two men.

The events on August 4 will begin with a rally at 5:30 p.m. at the Masjid As-Salam, 280 Central Ave., Albany. At 6 p.m., attendees will march to the First Unitarian Society of Albany, 405 Washington Ave., where dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. Following dinner, at 7 p.m. a panel discussion titled “Telling the Story of Two of Our Albany Political Prisoners” will feature four speakers who have been involved over the years with the case and with the men. The public is invited to attend all events, which are free.

Carl Strock, former columnist for the Daily Gazette, will speak about the Aref-Hossain case from a journalist’s point of view, from learning about the arrests to attending the trial, talking with the men, and the FBI visiting his employers to complain about his writing. Kathy Manley, Esq., Aref’s appeal attorney, will speak about how this case violated the basic rights of the men, from the lack of evidence to the use of secret evidence and the judge’s “targeting instruction” to the jury. Lynne Jackson, local activist, will describe the effect on the men’s families and the community’s response. Steve Downs, Esq., a volunteer lawyer on the case, will moderate the panel. Questions and answers will follow the presentations.

The events are sponsored by Capital District Coalition Against Islamophobia, Muslim Solidarity Committee, Project SALAM (Support And Legal Advocacy for Muslims), Capital Region chapter of National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, and the Social Responsibilities Council of the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany.

Yassin Aref, who was imam at the Masjid As-Salam, will be released in October 2018. Mohammed Hossain, a former Central Avenue small businessman, will be released in October 2020. Both the men’s families still live in Albany.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1982849505332221/?context=create&previousaction=create&ref=4&sid_create=1106805156&action_history=[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22create_dialog%22%2C%22mechanism%22%3A%22group_create_dialog%22%2C%22extra_data%22%3A[]%7D]&has_source=1