Q. You were a “balancer.” What exactly did that mean, and when did you come to this realization?
A. I was actually doing my laundry, and a guard comes up to me and says, “You’re not like all the other Muslim guys, you’re going to go home soon. Keep your head up, you’re only here to balance.”
Following his hard-hitting investigative report on Communications Management Units titled ‘Little Gitmo‘, New York Magazine‘s Christopher Stewart conducted a short interview with Sparrow’s Andy Stepanian about his personal experience as an inmate there. You can read the interview online HERE or read commentary in this week’s printed edition available on news stands everywhere.
Please take a moment to comment on New York’s website and thank them for their continued coverage of the CMU issue.
This week New York Magazine‘s Christopher S. Stewart published a hard-hitting and deeply personal investigation into the secretive federal prison programs known as Communication Management Units.
The units have been given nicknames like “Little Gitmo” and “Guantanamo North” because of the glaring ethnic and racial disparity of inmates designated to these units. 62% of inmates designated to the CMUs are Muslim men — a fact that both the ACLU & The Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR) highlight in their pending lawsuits against the prisons. Labeled by the CCR as an “experiment in social isolation” these institutions specifically isolate and silence inmates whose cases involve abundant press attention or possible prosecutorial misconduct, like that of the case against the Albany, NY Imam, Yassin Aref.
Stewart highlights the case against Aref in his feature, providing intimate details that the public has never seen before and that the federal government has made efforts to bury. The sting employed to entrap Aref was a layered mess of corrupt government informants, uninformed innocent merchants, and high tech spying. The three year operation to entrap Aref started with a hunch provided by military intel that was later redacted because it was grossly incorrect. However once the ball started rolling it did not stop, and Aref now sits in federal prison serving a 15 year sentence for allegedly providing material support for a terror organization he knew nothing of…
Click HERE to to read Christopher Stewart’s article in New York Magazine
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