Community Groups Call on ICE to Free Hanif as He Enters His Third Week of Hunger Strike
Farmville, VA. August 27, 2021 — Hanif is a 36-year-old Muslim man from Pakistan who has been detained in Virginia in Farmville Detention Center for close to three years. Free Them All VA has been supporting Hanif since April 2021.
On August 25, Hanif entered his 14th day on hunger strike due to being kept in isolation past the 2-week quarantine mark after he was taken to the hospital due to an assault by an officer.
On July 29, 2021, Hanif was physically assaulted by staff until he was unconscious, and was taken to the hospital covered in bruises for treatment for a deep cut on his chin. Hanif believes the assault was in retaliation for him attempting to speak to outside visitors about the conditions inside of Farmville, which he shared in his testimony at this month’s Farmville Town Council Meeting. Freedom for Immigrants filed a Civil Rights and Civil Liberties complaint on Hanif’s behalf on August 3, 2021.
ICA Farmville officers brought a charge against Hanif, despite him being the victim of the assault, and told him that because of this pending charge he cannot be sent back to his dorm. Hanif believes being kept in isolation is further retaliation against him. Legal counsel requested that Hanif be sent back to his dorm. When this was unsuccessful, Hanif began using the only tool he has, his own body, to refuse food until he is returned to his dorm.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture declared that keeping someone in solitary confinement for more than 22 hours a day amounts to psychological torture, and can “trigger and exacerbate psychological suffering, in particular in inmates who may have experienced previous trauma or have mental health conditions or psychosocial disabilities.”
In Hanif’s time at Farmville, he has made numerous complaints about discrimination, ill-treatment, and racism, but they have gone unanswered or been denied. During Ramadan, Hanif was not given Halal food and was not allowed to break his fast at the correct time. Throughout his time at Farmville, staff have made various xenophobic comments against him, such as calling him a radical Muslim or saying that he is trying to make the US the Middle East by asking for food in line with his religion.
We, the undersigned organizations, demand that ICE allow Hanif to return to his dorm and release him back to his community.
Free Them All VA
Justice for Muslims Collective
Freedom for Immigrants (FFI)
Virginia Student Power Network