Diala Shamas is a Senior Staff Attorney working with the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) project. CLEAR aims to address the unmet legal needs of Muslim, Arab, South Asian, and other communities in the New York City area that are particularly affected by national security and counterterrorism policies and practices.
Through her work at CLEAR, Diala represents individuals who are approached for questioning by local and federal law enforcement, targeted for surveillance, are placed on federal Watch Lists or who have had immigration benefits withheld from them on national security grounds. Along with her colleagues, students and co-counsel, she represents the plaintiffs in Raza v. City of New York, challenging the NYPD's program of suspicionless surveillance of Muslims, and Tanvir v. Holder, challenging the FBI's abuse of the No-Fly List to pressure individuals to become informants. She is also the co-author of Mapping Muslims: NYPD Spying and its Impact on American Muslims <pdf>.
She received her law degree from Yale Law School in 2011, where she worked with the National Litigation Project, litigating cases stemming from post-September 11th detention policies. She was also an editor for the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, a founding member of the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students' Association, and a member of the Transnational Development Clinic. She has also worked with Adalah, a legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel.
Prior to law school, Shamas worked with B'Tselem, a human rights organization based in Jerusalem, where she developed a human rights documentation initiative in the occupied territories using video documentation methods. Her interests in international law, accountability, and community responses to systemic abuses have also taken her to Rwanda, where she helped research transitional justice mechanisms being implemented in that country.
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