Activist’s Bank Account Frozen

This alert was originally released by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the Coaltition for People’s Rights.

Call: The Office of Foreign Assets Control at (202) 622-2410 or (202) 622-1615

– Unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family
– Stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Background: Oppression of Palestinian Human Rights Activist

The Treasury Department froze the bank accounts of a Palestinian human rights activist and his family.

Office of Foreign Assets Control (a division of the U.S. Dept of Treasury) is the source of escalated attack on civil Liberties of Anti-War, Palestinian Activists. On Friday, May 6, the U.S. government froze the bank accounts of Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife, Naima. It appears that this is being done by the Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

This unwarranted attack on a leading member of the Palestinian community in Chicago is the latest escalation of the repression of anti-war and Palestinian community organizers by the US government. Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 activists from Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago, and his home was raided by the FBI in September of last year.

One of the bank accounts was exclusively in Naima Abudayyeh’s name. Leaders of the national Committee to Stop FBI Repression, as well as Chicago’s Coalition to Protect People’s Rights, are appalled at the government’s attempt to restrict the family’s access to its finances, especially so soon before Mothers’ Day. The Abudayyehs have a five-year-old daughter.

Supporters of the Abudayyehs and the other 22 activists have learned that apparently OFAC can block your assets pending an investigation on charges of “material support for a foreign terrorist organization” without a hearing. No evidence is required to freeze assets. In the case of the Abudayyeh family, assets mean money for food and rent. As this statement is written, officials won’t even acknowledge that they are the source of the freeze.

There has been widespread criticism of the FBI and local law enforcement for their racist practices against Arab and Muslim communities across the country. These repressive tactics include infiltration of community centers and mosques, entrapment of young men, and the prominent case of 11 students from the University of California campuses at Irvine and Riverside who have been subpoenaed to a grand jury and persecuted for disrupting a speech by Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US. There have been no charges against Abudayyeh or any of the other 22 activists; this action by the U.S. government is another example of the criminalization of Palestinians, their supporters, and their movement for justice and liberation.

Six members of the U.S. Congress, including five in the past month, have sent letters to either Attorney General Eric Holder or President Obama, expressing grave concern for the violations of the civil liberties and rights of the 23 activists whose freedom is on the line. Three additional U.S. representatives have also promised letters, as thousands of constituents and other people of conscience across the U.S. have demanded an end to this assault on legitimate political activism and dissent.

The Midwest activists have been expecting indictments for some time. The freezing of the Abudayyeh family’s bank accounts suggests that the danger of indictments is imminent.