HLP Challenges USA Patriot Act in Federal Court

The Humanitarian Law Project and its President, Ralph D. Fertig, are challenging the federal government on the enforcement of the USA PATRIOT Act in an open hearing in federal court on Monday, July 25, 2005.

A key provision of the USA PATRIOT Act authorizes the Secretary of State to name any foreign group as "terrorist" without disclosing why such determination was made, and then makes it a crime for anyone to provide any support to it.

Fertig has been speaking out against the oppression of Kurds who have been slaughtered by Turkish armed forces and denied fundamental rights.  The Humanitarian Law Project has been working to seek a peaceful resolution of the conflict but the Secretary of State has declared the PKK, a key advocacy group to be "terrorist.:

Under the law, Fertig's aid in training members of the PKK to come to the peace table, could put him in jail for ten years. The Humanitarian Law Project had secured an injunction against that provision of the USA PATRIOT Act as overly broad and a denial of First Amendment rights, but Congress re-wrote the law and the matter is now back before federal district court Judge Audrey Collins.

David Cole, a lawyer with the Constitutional Rights Foundation and a Professor at Georgetown University School of Law, representing the Humanitarian Law Project and Fertig, will present oral argument..  The hearing will be held  in Room 680 of the Roybal Federal Courthouse, 255 E. Temple St., at 10:00 am.and the public is invited.