With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic, it has raised serious concerns for the health and safety of our son, Abdulrahman, who is a young man with mental health problems unjustly serving time in an American prison. Our worries are magnified as advocates have warned that United States prisons are at higher risk for a Coronavirus outbreak due to their lack of available precaution measures. According to ‘The Appeal’, a nonprofit criminal justice publication:
“Incarcerated people are uniquely vulnerable to disease, and substandard conditions in jails, prisons, and other facilities could help spread the coronavirus in the weeks to come.”
Every two weeks, we make the 12-hour drive to visit our son in the United States – even amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Currently, there are more than 1,000 cases in the United States with 32 deaths. Abdulrahman is in a vulnerable environment that increases his likelihood to catch the coronavirus. We are deeply worried about his health in these substandard prison conditions.
We are also worried about our health in future visits to our son and the likelihood of the prison suspending visitations.
Abdulrahman’s US and Canadian legal counsel appealed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York’s conviction based on the Court’s dismissal of Abdulrahman’s choice of representation which is a violation of his due process, the influence and role of FBI informants to entrap the young boy, and an unreasonable sentence of 40 years that was ignored his mental health bipolar disorder. Mental illness has always been recognised by the Supreme Court of the United States as factors that mitigate accountability and the nature of the sentence.