[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 
dropped mid-trial.

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
(415) 863-9977
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