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NEWS DIGEST


Portraits of Injustice
Tuesday, January 17, 2017


“There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice.
~Montesquieu~

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Because President Obama has only a few days to act, this special issue calls attention to the huge number of preemptive prosecutions of young Muslims in America, and the politically-driven, unwarranted prosecutions of other Muslims, such as Dr. Sami Al-Arian and the Holy Land 5 post 9/11 by the Bush and Obama administrations. These politically-driven prosecutions have frequently involved excessively brutal sentences, such as that of Masoud Khan who received a life sentence for what could best be characterized as a thought crime.Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison, even though the evidence, both forensic and testimonial, contradicted what she was accused of (attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan in 2008). Attorney General Ramsey Clark has described her plight as the “worse case of individual injustice I have ever witnessed.”

There are many cases of preemptive prosecution, but here are a few more examples.

Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka were sentenced to life in prison for a plot they had never heard of.

Mohamed Alessa was entrapped by paid FBI informants beginning at age 16. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Serdar Tatar was sentenced to 33 years in prison for a  very tenuous association with friends.

Mohamad Shnewer was sentenced to life in prison, not for anything that he did but for things that he said.

Sami Osmakac was a very easy target for the well-paid FBI informant, since he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. He was entrapped and sentenced to 40 years.

Michael Finton was sentenced to 28 years in prison for a plot that was planned by FBI informants who befriended him.

For more information on these political prosecutions, see The Lawfare of Preemptive Prosecution, a study by Project Salam and NCPCF:  “The study shows that the war on terror has been largely a charade designed to make the American public believe that a terrorist army is loose in the U.S., when the truth is that most of the people convicted of terrorism-related crimes posed no danger to the U.S. and were entrapped by a preventive strategy known as preemptive prosecution.”

Also see  Terror Factory; Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism by investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson, who concluded that there really aren’t very many terrorists around.

While in office, President Obama has granted a record number of clemencies. Will he extend his compassion to Muslim political prisoners?

In solidarity,

Mel Underbakke, Ph.D.
Director, Education and Outreach Committee

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The Aafia Foundation, Press Conference, An Appeal For Compassion To The Obama Administration. 12 Noon, Tuesday, January 17,  Lisagor Room, National Press Club, Washington, DC. Masoud Khan was given a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for what the government said was an aspirational offense. He is not alone. There are scores of other young Muslims throughout America who have been made subject to that same barbaric sentencing scheme. Civil libertarians, human rights activists, and impacted family members of Muslim political prisoners will call upon President Barack H. Obama to give compassionate relief to at least some of these families before he leaves office on January 20.

Path Forward: Challenging Islamophobia in an Age of Trump, Tuesday, January 17, 6:30pm to 8:00pm, Busboys and Poets (14 & V), 2021 14th St NW, Washington, DC. Join CCR, NCPCF, and the DC Justice for Muslims Coalition for an important discussion the evening before Supreme Court oral argument in Ziglar v. Abbasi (formerly Turkmen v. Ashcroft). CCR filed the case in 2002 on behalf of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab men swept up post-9/11 and detained as “terrorism suspects.” CCR is seeking to hold high-level officials accountable for the profiling and abuse of non-citizens—an issue of great importance even 15 years after the case was filed.

Action Items

Free the Holy Land Foundation 5. President Obama is currently reviewing the Holy Land Foundation clemency petition filed by MLFA. which asks Obama to commute, or reduce, their sentences to “time served” so they can be released from prison.  Call  President Obama’s office and urge him to commute the HLF defendants’ excessive sentences.  202-456-1111 or 202-456-1414. Or leave a message at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.  Suggested language: I’m calling to ask President Obama to commute the sentences of the Holy Land Foundation defendants: Mufid Abdulqader, Shukri Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammad El-Mezain, and Abdulrahman Odeh. All funds raised by HLF were used for purely humanitarian purposes — a fact prosecutors acknowledged. All money went to feed, clothe and educate children and families. The prosecution of these humanitarians was a grave injustice and their sentences of 15 to 65 years are excessive and cruel by any standard. It’s time to restore justice for these men and their loved ones.

Website of the Week

Florida Center for Investigative Reporting
Founded in 2010 by Trevor Aaronson and Mc Nelly Torres, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting is a nonprofit investigative journalism organization whose mission is to expose corruption, waste and miscarriages of justice.

 

Multimedia

The Newburgh Sting [1 hr. 19 min. 22 sec.]

The Holy Land Five – Al Jazeera World Part I [45 min. 2 sec.]

‪The Holy Land Five (Part II) – Al Jazeera World[44 min. 47 sec.]

USA vs Al-Arian [1 hr. 38 min. 5 sec.]

 

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NCPCF Mission
Established in October 2010, the NCPCF is a coalition of national and local organizations as well as prominent individuals, whose mission is: To educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the U.S. criminal justice system especially after 9/11, and to advocate for the preservation of those freedoms and to defend those rights according to the U.S. Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions.
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Member Organizations
American Muslim Alliance (AMA) – Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) – Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) – Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) – Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility (CLEAR) – Defending Dissent Foundation (DDF) – Desis, Rising Up and Moving (DRUM) – Friends of HumaIssuen Rights (FHR) – International Action Center (IAC) – Islamic Circle of North America Council for Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ) -Muslim Civil Liberties Union (MCLU) – Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) – National Lawyers Guild (NLG) – National Liberty Fund (NLF) – The Peace Thru Justice Foundation (PTJF) – Project Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims (Project SALAM) – United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) – Universal Justice Foundation (UJF).

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Our mailing address is:
National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
P.O. Box 66301
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