Court Rules Immigration Judge Erred in Closing Rabih Haddad's Bond Hearing

October 06, 2002

Detroit - A federal judge ruled today that an immigration court did violate the due process of Rabih Haddad when closing a portion of his bond hearing last week without following procedure of finding facts on the record, according to the ACLU of Michigan. Though she determined that the hearing could be closed with respect to the testimony of one witness, she ruled that the immigration court failed to follow proper due process procedure in the future.

"The immigration judge simply took the government’s word and chose not to follow the required procedures of fact finding,” said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “Judge Edmunds’ ruling will hopefully prevent such due process violations in the future".

A federal appeals court, in August, struck down the government's blanket policy of conducting secret deportation hearings in post-9/11 cases, on the basis that it violated the First Amendment.  The appeals court acknowledged that portions of a hearing can be closed if there was evidence that national security is at risk.

The government has never publicly linked Haddad to terrorism or charged him with any related crime during the course of the many hearings held to keep the process open to the public and press.  Additionally, the government concluded last April that the release of transcripts "will not cause irreparable harm" to national security.  

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