Thursday, March 20, 2008

FW:[DWN] Death of detainee at Middlesex - 92 detainees sign petitionin protest

Please consider supporting this action for accountability from NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee, read below.


Also read on-line or send for a copy of NNIRR’s new HURRICANE report,

“Over-Raided, Under Siege: U.S. Immigration Laws and Enforcement Destroy the Rights of Immigrants” at:


-----Original Message-----
From: Jeannette Gabriel []
Sent: Monday, March 17, 2008 8:28 PM
Subject: [DWN] Death of detainee at Middlesex - 92 detainees sign petitionin protest


Hello friends,


NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee is circulating this statement and

seeking other groups to sign-on in support.  The local newspaper near

Middlesex County Correction Center, The Home News Tribune, published

an article about the death, you can see at on our website at or at this direct link:


The petition from the detainees is attached below.  Please consider

signing on to this statement to help us publicize this atrocity and

call for an investigation into detainee Arturo Alvarez's death.



Jeannette Gabriel

NJ Civil Rights Defense Committee



More than ninety detainees being held at the Middlesex County

Correction Center have signed a petition in protest of the recent

death (March 2) of fellow-detainee Arturo Alvarez owing to medical

neglect. The signers are all immigrants who are detained pending

review of their deportation status.


We call for an immediate investigation into this unnecessary death and

an end to the Middlesex County contract with Immigration and Customs

Enforcement (ICE). We also commend the courage of these men in

bringing to light the conditions in the Middlesex detention center.

The petition, which also spotlights the case of Cemar Koc, another

detainee whose life is  threatened by similar medical neglect, appeals

to the guarantees of the Bill of Rights and decries the

unconstitutional and inhumane conditions under which the petitioners

are held. It calls for an end to immigration detention as a violation

of both constitutional and human rights.


The petition is addressed to Michael Mukasey, Attorney General of the

US, and Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security. Its often

fractured and wrenchingly passionate language gives authentic witness

to the brutal, ongoing disregard for humanity and human life

experienced by those held in detention under contracts between ICE and

County jails and other facilities in many parts of the country. It

also reinforces the urgency of recent claims by the United Nations

Special Human Rights Inspector, Jorge Bustamante (Promotion and

Protection of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and

Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development, March 5, 2008 –

English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish), that the practice of

mandatory immigrant detention in the U.S. is "overused," and that it

"violates the spirit of international laws and conventions and, in

many cases, also violates the actual letter of those instruments" (New

York Times, 3/8/2008). This U.N. report calls for an end to the

mandatory detention of illegal immigrants and asks that the United

States ensure an independent court review of such detentions. On an

investigatory tour of American detention facilities last year,

Bustamante was refused admission to Monmouth County jail, where a

Russian detainee was being force-fed after threatening suicide.


The death of Arturo Alvarez, like the more than sixty other deaths in

detention in the U.S. over the past five years that have never been

fully explained or accounted for, is the inevitable outcome of a

system that lacks adequate oversight and accountability. County

detention facilities, which represent a low-investment revenue stream

for county governments, could not exist without their cooperation and

collaboration. A mass detainee petition decrying similar inhumane

conditions at Passaic County Jail led in early 2006 to the termination

of that County's contract with ICE and the release of many detainees.


We find the undiminished respect of the Middlesex petitioners for the

Constitution and its guarantees an inspiration for all of us in this

nation of immigrants. We deplore Governor Corzine's disregard of pleas

that he direct the moral scrutiny of his office to this inhumane

system, which affects New Jersey significantly more than many other

states. In solidarity with the petitioners, therefore, and in

admiration for the courage of their outspoken action, we join in

demanding their freedom, and call on the Middlesex County Freeholders

to end the cooperation with ICE that makes this reprehensible and

unconstitutional detention system possible.



March 17, 2008



Arnoldo Garcia

National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Red Nacional Pro Derechos Inmigrantes y Refugiados

310 8th Street Suite 303

Oakland, CA 94607

Tel (510) 465-1984 ext. 305

Fax (510) 465-1885



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