From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Federal public defender Wax masterfully delivers a harrowing story of the erosion of civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks in a powerful testimony that reads like a thriller. Wax follows the stories of two men he represented, both victims of post-9/11 counterterrorism measures. The first—American citizen and fellow lawyer Brandon Mayfield—was arrested by the FBI as a suspect in the Madrid train station bombings in 2004, after the FBI claimed that a latent fingerprint found on the scene matched Mayfield's. The second story revolves around Adel Hamad, a Sudanese-born hospital administrator arrested in Pakistan while doing refugee relief work. Imprisoned for six months in a fetid hell for alleged connections with al-Qaeda, Hamad was hooded and shackled and transferred to Guantánamo Bay, where he has languished for the past four years. With considerable finesse, the author narrates these two gripping stories in alternating chapters through each stage of his clients' cases. Wax offers personal insight and professional outrage; his is a powerful voice that deserves to reach all Americans. (June)
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Wax, the head of the Oregon Federal Public Defenders office, writes that when he volunteered to represent inmates at Guantánamo Bay he didnt know if his clients "would be terrorists or innocents." At least one, Adel Hamad, a Sudanese aid worker, seems patently innocent, and Wax also represented Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer whose storyhe was falsely linked to a bombing through shoddy fingerprint evidenceillustrates the short path from depriving terrorists of their rights to depriving everyone else. In an enthralling, enraging narrative, Wax captures the damage that Guantánamo has done to Americas reputation abroad, and shows how the legal fights on behalf of detainees might restore it. When Hamad, who helped run a hospital for refugees and was known for his Ping-Pong skills, disappeared, his wife was left destitute, and their infant daughter died from a lack of medical care. Hamad spent nearly five years at Guantánamo.
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