Dr Fai Released on Bond

Alexandria: A man charged with working for Pakistan’s spy agency while trying to influence US lawmakers has been released on $100,000 bond.

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai appeared in US District Court on Tuesday for a detention hearing.

He was arrested last week on charges that he tried to influence the policy of the White House and Congress on Kashmir while working under the supervision of Pakistan’s spy agency.

US Magistrate Judge John Anderson released Fai into the custody of his wife and placed him under home detention with electronic monitoring.

Fai is the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council. He was arrested on a charge of being an unregistered agent of a foreign government

CALL FOR INVESTIGATION: In a letter addressed to President Barack Obama by a coalition of seventeen (17) civil liberty organizations, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) called upon the President to appoint an Inspector General for the Department of Justice and launch an inquiry into potential political bias at DOJ, says a Press Release. It adds:

In particular, the coalition invites transparency into whether the recent arrest of longtime Muslim-American leader and community activist Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai is a selective prosecution reflecting political motives. 

Not only should Dr. Fai be afforded the presumption of innocence, but the timing of his indictment, coinciding with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's official visit to India, calls into question the basis for the arrest.  Alleged failure to register as a foreign agent, in this case on behalf of Pakistan (which has long been considered a US ally), is commonly treated as an administrative violation.

In those instances where national security is actually threatened, criminal charges are appropriate.  However, this does not appear to be the case here.  Dr. Fai, on behalf of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), has openly worked for over thirty years to educate the American public and elected officials about human rights issues in Kashmir.  To suggest that his decades of transparent advocacy somehow threatens US national security is spurious at best.  

NCPCF strongly believes the government should not place itself in a situation where the timing and choosing of prosecutions undermines their legitimacy by reflecting selectivity and double standards, or political considerations.  The Associated Press observed that "though the charges are not related to espionage, the arrest adds new strain to the already difficult relationship between the US and Pakistan." Many independent observers see Dr. Fai as a victim of the strained relations between the CIA and the Pakistani intelligence services.

"We call upon you to seriously look into whether  Dr. Fai was improperly targeted as a political activist in light of the political row developing in the last few months between the US and Pakistan, and to empower the Inspector General of the Department of Justice to investigate any political bias by the FBI and the Office of US Attorneys," wrote NCPCF  Chairperson Dr. Agha Saeed in his letter to the President.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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