Rafil Dhafir

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Person.png Rafil Dhafir  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(doctor, prisoner of conscience)
Victim of“War on Terror”
Us Muslim doctor persecuted by the US justice system for providing humanitarian aid to sanctioned Iraq.

Dr. Rafil Dhafir, is an American physician of Iraqi origin who on October 28, 2005 was sentenced to 22 years in prison for violating US sanctions laws by sending money and humanitarian aid to Iraq, and nearly sixty other trumped-up charges. Five other people, including his wife, had already pleaded guilty to charges in connection with this case.

Convicted to 22 years prison, he was released on May 15, 2020, after 17 years, some of it in high security prisons.

Dr. Dhafir, a leader in the Islamic community of upstate New York, was the founder of an Islamic charity. As a direct response to the humanitarian catastrophe created by the Gulf War and U.S. and U.K. sponsored sanctions on Iraq, he founded the charity Help The Needy (HTN). For 13 years he worked tirelessly to help publicize the plight of the Iraqi people and to raise funds to help them, contributing significantly himself over the years. As an oncologist, he was also concerned and spoke out about the effects of depleted uranium ammunition on the Iraqi population, which was already experiencing skyrocketing cancer rates.[1]

Dhafir and other HTN associates were subjected to high-profile arrests in the early morning of February 26, 2003, just weeks before the second U.S. invasion of Iraq. Dhafir was repeatedly slandered in the media as a funder of terrorists. Yet despite new investigative powers and surveillance technologies, prosecutors failed to produce any evidence of actual terrorist financing by these Muslim charities.

The main primary government was charged against him for violating the IEEPA Act (International Economic Emergency Powers Act), where a US president can impose economic sanctions. The law states that money cannot be sent to a sanctioned country, and in order to send humanitarian aid, a charity must be approved and only send approved shipments.

The first indictment against Dhafir contained 14 charges related only to the Iraq sanctions. Later, when Dhafir refused to accept a plea agreement, the government, which had seized all of his business records, piled on nearly four dozen more formal charges, a standard method by the US justice system to drastically increase combined jail terms.

It is believed Dr. Zafer was the only American citizen to be held in prison on charges of violating the sanctions imposed on Iraq.


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The political trial of a caring man and the end of justice in Americaarticle8 November 2012John PilgerThe story of a particularly egregious example of the blind sanctimonious viciousness that the US judicial system reserves for Muslims deemed to have impeded US foreign policy objectives.