U.S. Court of Appeals Will Decide Ibrahim Parlak Fate

High Profile Deportation Case Reaches Critical Turning Point

CINCINNATI , Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit will determine whether Turkish immigrant Ibrahim Parlak can remain in the U.S. at a hearing scheduled on October 22, 2007 at 1:30 pm in Cincinnati , Ohio.

Parlak's case has generated national attention because of the overwhelming support for his residency in his home community in Michigan and for questions it raises about the United State's post-9/11 terrorist policy.

At the center of Ibrahim's case lie three fundamental, precedent-setting issues: should immigration courts rely on evidence from torture-induced confessions, should the Department of Homeland Security be allowed unlimited discretion to designate any group of "two or more" individuals as a terrorist organization, and should a person be prosecuted for membership in a group that is opposed to the government.

The government seeks to deport the popular Harbert, Michigan restaurateur for his association during the 1980s with an organization that championed the rights of Kurds in Turkey . Arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the Turkish government for his connections to the group, Parlak was granted asylum in 1992.

After 9/11, the U.S. government embarked on deportation proceedings against Parlak, claiming he had terrorist ties and citing evidence from a torture-induced confession he endured while in Turkey . Parlak was detained in a Michigan jail in 2004 for ten months, but has been free since then, pending this hearing.

Local officials and his home community of Harbert, Michigan have repeatedly rallied behind his residency arguing that he is a valuable community member and represents no threat to the interests of the United States . Parlak has a ten-year-old American daughter.

His case highlights many issues of national importance including immigration and immigrant rights, civil liberties in wartime, and how our nation defines terrorism and terrorist organizations. A decision is expected from the 6th Circuit Court in late 2007.

For Parlak, the court's decision will mean the difference between residing in the U.S. and returning to Turkey , widely criticized for its lack of civil liberties and use of torture, where his future and freedom is uncertain.

Judge Avern Cohn of the U.S. District Court in Detroit granted Parlak a writ of Habeas Corpus, releasing him from jail in June 2006 . In his written opinion, Cohn sited Parlak as a "model citizen" and "not a threat to anyone or a risk of flight."

Michigan's Senator Carl Levin and Congressman Fred Upton have publicly supported Parlak's case and have introduced bills in both houses that would grant him permanent U.S. residency. Senator Levin stated, " Mr. Parlak is a good citizen and should be allowed to remain in the United States and continue the honorable life that he has built for his community, his daughter, and himself all these years."

Parlak is supported by Friends of Ibrahim, a grassroots alliance of Southwest Michigan residents who support Parlak's quest for freedom. His case has gained international attention and has been covered by New York Times, AP, Nightline, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, National Public Radio, South Bend Tribune, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News and many other news media.

SOURCE Free Ibrahim