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Judge Refuses Gov’t on Detainee Case

April 10, 2002

DETROIT (AP) _ A federal judge on Tuesday denied the Justice Department’s request to reconsider her ruling ordering the release of transcripts of closed deportation hearings for the detained founder of an Islamic charity.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds said the Justice Department improperly barred the media and public from immigration hearings for Rabih Haddad, the co-founder of Global Relief Foundation. She ruled that transcripts of the hearings must be made public.

The government is investigation the Islamic charity for suspected terrorism links.

Haddad, a 41-year-old citizen of Lebanon, was arrested Dec. 14 at his Ann Arbor home on suspicion of overstaying his visa. He appeared at three closed hearings before an immigration judge in Detroit before he was transferred to Chicago, where he remains in custody.

Justice Department lawyer Michael Lindemann told Edmunds in a conference call that making such hearings public would endanger the investigation and aid terrorists in future attacks.

``Public hearings will reveal sources and types of information,″ Lindemann said Tuesday.

Government attorneys said they would immediately appeal Edmunds’ order to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.

Edmunds scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to address possible contempt charges if the immigration judge does not release the hearing transcripts.

Federal authorities shut down Global Relief Foundation and froze its assets, saying it aided terrorists. The government has not explained how the charity helped terrorists or linked Haddad personally to terrorism.

The Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, The Ann Arbor News, the weekly Metro Times and Democratic U.S. Rep. John Conyers have sued to open the hearings.

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