Free Saifullah Paracha
U.S. Government, Pakistani Government
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President George W. Bush,
US Attorney General John Ashcroft,
US Secretary Colin Powell,
US Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld,
We, the undersigned, are greatly concerned and opposed to the wrongful and unexplained detention of Pakistani national, Mr. Saifullah Paracha, at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, following his mysterious disappearance from the Thai Airways flight he had boarded from Karachi, (on route to a business meeting in Bangkok,) in July 2003. He remains in U.S. custody there at the time of writing.
It concerns us deeply that an elderly gentleman who suffers from a number of medical conditions is being detained in such a manner, without any charge levelled against him, and without access to legal representation nor sufficient medical care and access to his family. Furthermore, it disturbs us greatly in light of the mistreatment and human rights abuses that have been alleged to occur at Bagram; Amnesty International has documented instances where the detainees have been subject to torture, including blindfolding, sleep deprivation and the cruel use of shackles, or that the inmates are kept in painful positions for hours, hooded or made to wear opaque goggles, or bombarded with light (The Washington Post). Moreover, it has been reported that a number of the detainees have been handed over to the intelligence services of foreign governments, known for their brutality and who have no compunction about torture. The airbase has also gained notoriety for the unexplained homicide of two of its detainees in 2002, as a result of blunt force injuries.
The ordeal that Mr. Paracha continues to endure is a gross violation of Amendments VI and VIII of the Bill of Rights and of Articles V-XI inclusive of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which both of your countries are signatories. This is more saddening considering Mr. Paracha was a law-abiding, tax-paying, legal resident of the U.S. for over a decade, eventually a green card holder, having made beneficial contributions to the economy, running a number of successful businesses.
He has equally been an asset to Pakistan; economically - in that he ran a number of successful businesses, including a company that exports textiles to the U.S.A - as well as socially, making immense contributions in the spheres of education and health, in addition to his beneficial endeavours amongst orphans and refugees. We are all the more disappointed when one realises that this can only have occurred with the knowledge and complicity of the Pakistani government, concerning one of its citizens who has been known only for being a good, law abiding, philanthropist.
We urgently request that you provide an explanation for his detention without charge, and urge you to act immediately so that Mr. Paracha is either charged with a crime or released. We entreat you to ensure that Mr. Paracha is treated humanely, his human rights respected, and that he be granted direct access to legal representatives, and to his family.
We implore you to review the current status of Mr Paracha. We are concerned that in these present circumstances, a grave miscarriage of justice could easily occur. Please ensure that the U.S. and Pakistani Governments strengthen, rather than undermine, the rule of international law and the standards of justice and decency.