[Ppnews] Federal Appeals Court to Hear Patrice Lumumba Ford Case

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 27 16:54:56 EST 2006



Federal Appeals Court to Hear Patrice Lumumba Ford Case
author: Kent Ford
e-mail: kent_ford at hotmail.com

Public invited to Pioneer Courthouse, 700 SW 6th Avenue, on Monday, 
December 4 at 9:00 a.m.


[]




Patrice Lumumba Ford's 18-year sentence will be reviewed by the U.S. 
9th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 4 in Portland, Oregon. Ford 
received national media attention as part of The Portland Six, who 
were accused of being a "terrorist cell" in 2002.

Ford's new lawyer, Shaun McCrea of Eugene, will argue that the 
sentencing guidelines for "treason" were erroneously applied in her 
client's case. Previously, Ford tried to obtain habeas relief on the 
grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel under 28 U.S.C. sec 
2255, but that appeal was denied by the U.S. District Court late last year.

McCrea's oral argument will be heard by the 9th Circuit Court of 
Appeals on Monday, December 4, at 9 a.m. at the Pioneer Courthouse, 
700 S.W. 6th Avenue, Portland.

Ford has been incarcerated since his initial arrest on October 4, 2002.

Ford made a trip to China in October 2001 in the company of five 
other Portland men--mostly African-American converts to Islam. In 
China, he was denied entry to Pakistan, where he hoped to help at the 
Afghani refugee camps. After a month abroad, he returned to his home 
in Portland.

One year later, federal agents nabbed Ford and the others who had 
traveled with him to China. Attorney General John Ashcroft called the 
group a "terrorist cell." It was never proven that Ford or the others 
had any connection to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or any other terrorist 
organization.

The case was expected to be a challenge to the Department of 
Justice's expanded spying powers under the Patriot Act but, like 
other "terrorist" cases around the country, it never came to trial.

Federal prosecutors first offered five-year sentences in a plea 
bargain. The offer was later withdrawn, presumably under orders from 
then Attorney General John Ashcroft. In the end, all defendants, 
afraid of the very real possibilities of life in federal prison, 
agreed to much longer sentences. Ford, the last to plead out, 
accepted an 18-year sentence for "seditious conspiracy."

Immediately, Ashcroft, in a press conference that coincided with the 
Senate vote to wage war in Iraq, went on national television 
declaring that these plea bargains constituted "a defining day" in 
the U.S. fight against terrorism.


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