[Ppnews] The Muhammad Salah Bottomline
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Feb 3 16:34:18 EST 2007
The Muhammad Salah Bottomline
Ahmed Rehab, The Electronic Intifada, 1 February 2007
For many years now, Mr. Muhammad Salah lived life in the infamy of
being labeled as the only designated US terrorist. He suffered the
repercussions of this judgment, long before he could face an open and
fair trial in a US Court of law. His assets were frozen, and his life
shattered. His family carried the burden of this label to their
schools, workplaces, and to the local supermarket.
Today at the completion of an emotionally tolling trial on Mr. Salah
and his family, the final verdict is out.
Though he was found guilty of obstructing justice, he was found not
guilty of racketeering -- the major charge. The third charge of
providing material support to a terrorist organization had been
And so, here's the final word: Mr. Muhammad Salah is neither a
terrorist nor a criminal for having supplied charitable aid to the
most vulnerable factions of his occupied and war-ravaged country of
origin, Palestine; a jury of his peers understand that to be true.
Our justice system has affirmed what many in his family have long
claimed, that Muhammad Salah, a conscientious and upright family man
and community member was only guilty of being a bold Palestinian
activist. His fate is one that befalls many of his kind. It is to my
personal relief, that our justice system is where the buck stops on
the political persecution of the embattled Palestinian people.
My sense of pride in our court system, however, comes with
reservation. Justice as we know it in America involves more than just
an endpoint, it invovles the process of how to get there. And while
the verdict vindicates Salah and his name, the process, the trial,
raises questions for those of us who are concerned about the rule of
law, and the sanctity of our constitutional rights.
As a civil rights organization, our aspiration is to see every
American granted his or her full rights under any and all circumstances.
Muhammad Salah's right to a fair trial was forgone when the court
decided to accept statements he made under torture. It is a cause for
concern to the American people when a U.S. court endorses foreign
interrogation methods and detention practices that would be
considered illegal under U.S. law.
Mr. Salah was systematically tortured by the Israeli Secret Service
and interrogated for 80 days. In some countries, such brutality is
typically used to break down the psychological condition of a
suspect. Because the manner in which the confession was extracted
would be inadmissible in the United States, it is repugnant to the
public policy of American courts.
Muhammad Salah's 6th Amendment right to a public trial was also
violated when the court ruled that portions of the suppression
hearings and trial would be closed to the public.
Also, Muhammad Salah's due process rights were violated when his
assets were frozen before he could have the opportunity to defend
himself in a public trial.
We hope that the suffering of the Salah family is over. We also hope
that the "terrorism" label be reserved in the future for those found
guilty of that charge in an open and fair trail administered in a
respected court of law.
Ahmed Rehab is the <http://www.cairchicago.org/>Council on
American-Islamic Relations-Chicago's Executive Director. He can be
reached at (847) 971-3963 or (312) 212-1520 or at
director at cairchicago.org. This article was originally published by
CAIR-Chicago and is republished with permission.
The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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