February 25, 2008
Mike Webb, 212–998–6746
Jonathan Hafetz, 212–998–6289
Reverend Says He Was Denied Constitutional Rights After Protesting Iraqi War
On Wednesday, February 27, the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law will argue the case of a Reverend who says his due process and other Constitutional rights were violated by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Reverend Frederick Boyle, the “Peace Pastor,” is an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church who the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alleges traveled to Iraq in 2003 before the war began to protest the United States’ imminent attack on the country. Boyle was and remains a strong critic of the war on moral, ethical and religious grounds. Later in 2003, OFAC contacted Boyle and threatened a fine and imprisonment for up to 12 years if he did not immediately respond to their charges and answer other questions. Boyle asserted his rights, and was then fined by OFAC.
Boyle believes he was unfairly targeted by the U.S. for his religious convictions and stance against the war. Both are violations of his First Amendment rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“Rev. Boyle never received an opportunity to make his case and was fined for exercising his constitutional rights,” said Jonathan Hafetz, Litigation Director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty & National Security Project, who represents Boyle on behalf of the Center. “It appears as if this case is an attempt by the government to punish a religious leader for speaking out against the war. We seek to have the penalty against Boyle thrown out and his rights vindicated.”
Arguments will take place on Wednesday, February 27 at 11am before Judge Donald Pogue at the U.S. Court of International Trade, One Federal Plaza. Co-counsel in the case include Larry Lustberg of Gibbons, PC, Art Eisenberg of the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Ed Barocas of the ACLU of New Jersey.
Rev. Boyle’s attorney Jonathan Hafetz is available to comment about the case. Rev. Boyle can appear on camera, but because of the possibility of criminal prosecution, cannot discuss specifics about the case.
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