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Follow-up Issue on Unlawful Detention

17 Shevat, 5767 / February 5, 2007

From: Boruch (Bryan) Ellison

A continuation of our emergency report of February 4

Good News!

We can thank G-d that, some twelve hours after our emergency newsletter went out Saturday night, Shmuel was finally released from psychiatric imprisonment.

And while we're at it, we'd like to thank those of you who responded. If the illegal detention had continued, your help would have been indispensable to winning back Shmuel's freedom.

As we announced 24 hours ago, our Brooklyn-based JAHG-USA volunteer had been stopped on Friday by confused police who couldn't find anything wrong or illegal with his offering fliers to yeshiva students. Yet at the same time those New York City officers were under loud, aggressive pressure from certain yeshiva administrators — angry opponents of our PLO-defunding campaign who were frantically trying to keep their students from reading our latest report on PLO terrorism — to do something, anything, to stop Shmuel from handing out those fliers!

The police tried citing Shmuel, then changed course to arrest him, then again changed their minds and diverted him to the Kings County Psychiatric Hospital in Brooklyn. Once there, Shmuel found himself progressively sinking into a trap. Over the course of 36 hours, he had his wallet and other possessions seized, was threatened with indefinite detainment unless he allowed a psychiatrist to interview and "diagnose" him, was officially admitted without his consent, and was constantly harassed by hospital staffers openly unfriendly to religious Jews (mocking Shmuel for observing the Sabbath, and complaining that his "Jewish practices" were "uncooperative" with hospital procedures).

The point, of course, was to intimidate him into surrendering his rights, and then to concoct new excuses to keep him imprisoned permanently (G-d forbid!).

His legal rights were ignored at every turn, in direct violation of offical New York policies in all hospitals:

Fortunately, Shmuel maintained a calm, level-headed insistence on his legal rights. When he regained consciousness Sunday morning, he continued pressing the issue and demanded to be released. The hospital staff dragged their feet as long as possible, trying to stall Shmuel and wear him down. But his persistence gradually, hour by hour, put the staffers on the spot to come up with some kind of legal justification for holding him.

Finally, unable to fend off Shmuel any longer, they returned his wallet and other possessions and allowed him to sign himself out of the hospital — without any psychiatric interview or "diagnosis." (Although they did threaten to treat him worse next time if he was caught distributing anti-PLO fliers ever again!)

After 48 hours, the ordeal was over. The whole thing was a legal bluff, and Shmuel called them on it!

Obviously, if some aggressive lawyers wanted to pursue this case pro bono, they could quite probably win serious legal actions against the hospital and its staffers, the New York Police Department, the as-yet-unidentified arresting officers, etc. No doubt criminal prosecutions would also succeed. If anyone wants to try, we wouldn't mind.

But we don't have the resources to restore justice ourselves, and we don't currently see the point in diverting our time and energies into pressing a legal fight over it.

The PLO is continuing its terrorist war with full U.S. funding, and we have stop that madness.

And so do you.…


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