Supporters of Rabih Haddad, a local Muslim community leader, failed to clear another obstacle yesterday when Immigration Judge Robert Newberry denied bond for Haddad, after reflecting on evidence given by Haddad’s attorneys and the Justice Department Tuesday.

Haddad’s attorney Ashraf Nubani said the decision will be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals in Falls Church, Va., sometime in the next six weeks. He added he is now positive Newberry will deny Haddad’s motion for political asylum in the United States.

“He’s going to deny political asylum in the next two weeks,” Nubani said. “It’s clear that he’s very biased.”

This was the fourth time bond has been denied for Haddad, who has been in INS custody on a visa violation charge since Dec. 14. At three closed immigration hearings last December and January, Immigration Judge Elizabeth Hacker refused bond to Haddad at all three hearings. At the time, Nubani said Hacker denied bond because she considered Haddad a flight risk and because he owned a hunting rifle.

Haddad’s Tuesday bond hearing was open to the media and public due to an April decision made by U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds and upheld by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in April, calling closed hearing unconstitutional.

These rulings were a result of a lawsuit filed at the end of January by a group of plaintiffs including the Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and Rep. John Conyers (D- Detroit).

“When the government begins closing doors, it selectively controls information rightfully belonging to the people. Selective information is misinformation,” Judge Damon Keith wrote in a unanimous opinion that supported the Edmund’s decision in April to open Haddad’s hearings.

Nubani said yesterday he was not surprised by Newberry’s ruling because he thought Newberry’s bias against Haddad was apparent throughout the proceedings.

He noted one incident during a pre-hearing conference where Newberry made a rude comment to Haddad?s attorneys in regard to potential witnesses.

“He said, ‘I assume that they will bring their green cards or some sort of identification,'” Nubani said, adding that he has had enough cases in immigration court to know witnesses do not need to show their ID.

Nubani said during the hearings, Newberry seemed to be hostile toward Haddad by the way he looked at certain witnesses and how he addressed certain motions or questions brought forth by Justice Department attorneys.

“He picked on the things that he wanted to hang his hat on during the proceedings,” Nubani said.

Nubani added Newberry and Justice Department attorneys seemed ignorant about certain issues including Islam. One example he gave was when a lawyer asked Haddad, “Do you believe everything in the Koran?” Nubani said neither Newberry nor Justice Department attorneys seemed to understand concepts of Islam, such as that all people who accept Islam as a religion believe everything in the Koran.

“He is a person who believes ‘These Muslims … must somehow be linked to something,” Nubani said. “We can’t get a thoughtful person to weigh the evidence.”

Neither Newberry nor Justice Dept. spokesman Charles Miller could be reached for comment yesterday.

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