[Pnews] Fort Dix Five: Prosecuted by Christie, Muslim Brothers Get Rare Day in Court in FBI Entrapment Case

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jan 7 14:24:09 EST 2016


  Fort Dix Five: Prosecuted by Christie, Muslim Brothers Get Rare Day in
  Court in FBI Entrapment Case

January 07, 2016
*http://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/7/fort_dix_five_prosecuted_by_christie*

In 2008, the Duka brothers—Shain, Dritan and Eljvir—were among five men 
from suburban New Jersey who were convicted of conspiring to kill 
American soldiers at the Fort Dix Army base. The three are serving life 
sentences, but their supporters say the men were entrapped by the FBI. 
On Wednesday, the three brothers appeared in a courthouse in Camden, New 
Jersey, for a rare court-ordered hearing to determine whether they 
received a fair trial and effective representation from their lawyers. 
We bring you voices from a rally organized in support of the three Duka 
brothers and speak with Robert Boyle, attorney for Shain Duka.

------------------------------------------------------------------------


    TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

*AMY GOODMAN:* On Wednesday, three brothers convicted in the case of the 
Fort Dix Five appeared in a courthouse in Camden, New Jersey, for a rare 
court-ordered hearing to determine whether they received a fair trial 
and effective representation from their lawyers. In 2008, the 
brothers—Shain, Dritan and Eljvir Duka—were among five men from suburban 
New Jersey who were convicted of conspiring to kill American soldiers at 
the Fort Dix Army base. Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey 
Governor Chris Christie, then U.S. attorney in New Jersey, was 
responsible for prosecuting the case, and often cites it as one of his 
crowning achievements. This is Christie speaking in 2007 from the steps 
of the federal courthouse in Camden, New Jersey.

    *CHRIS CHRISTIE:* The philosophy that supports and encourages jihad
    around the world against Americans came to live here in New Jersey
    and threaten the lives of our citizens through these defendants.
    Fortunately, law enforcement in New Jersey was here to stop them.

*AMY GOODMAN:* However, social justice activists and several media 
outlets have cast doubt on the prosecution. They also question the 
merits of the case, which involved two government informants who, over 
18 months, befriended the Dukas and attempted, unsuccessfully, to 
involve the brothers in a plot to attack the Fort Dix Army base. Only by 
ensnaring another friend of the Dukas to agree to participate in an 
attack was the government able to make a case of conspiracy against the 
Duka brothers, though none of them agreed to participate in or knew 
anything about the scheme. Shain, Dritan and Eljvir Duka were found 
guilty of conspiracy to kill members of the military at Fort Dix and 
sentenced to life in prison. In a video on the Fort Dix Five produced by 
/The Intercept/ this past June, one of the government informants, 
Mahmoud Omar, said the Duka brothers were innocent of any crime.

    *MAHMOUD OMAR:* [translated] I don’t know nothing about those guys.
    And I said that in court. Those Dukas, they didn’t do nothing, and I
    never heard nothing from them. They are good and kind people.

*AMY GOODMAN:* That was the informant. Well, now the brothers argue they 
didn’t receive effective counsel and their court-appointed attorneys 
dissuaded them from testifying, which they wanted to do, at their own 
trial. Supporters from several social justice groups held a vigil in 
support of the three Duka brothers before Wednesday’s hearing in Camden. 
/Democracy Now!/ was there.

    *PROTESTERS:* Free the Dukas now! Free the Dukas now! Free the Dukas
    now!

    *LYNNE JACKSON:* I’m Lynne Jackson. I’m with the Fort Dix Five
    Support Committee. And we’re outside the federal court in Camden,
    New Jersey. What’s happening today is the Fort Dix Five were five
    Muslim men who were entrapped by the FBI, and today there’s going to
    be a court hearing for three of the men. They are brothers, the Duka
    brothers—Dritan, Shain and Eljvir Duka. These three men were
    convicted of a conspiracy that they didn’t know about, and they were
    given life sentences.

    This is a very unusual hearing. The Duka brothers have lost all of
    their appeals. They lost in court. They lost all their appeals. But
    the judge has allowed them—they made another motion, and the judge
    has allowed them to argue on one of the issues of that motion, about
    whether they were allowed to testify at their trial or not.

    *BURIM DUKA:* My name is Burim Duka, the youngest brother of the
    Duka brothers. This hearing came about from the public defenders
    that my brothers have—that they had, not have. They told my brothers
    not to testify during the trial. And my brothers were trying to
    testify, they wanted to testify. They didn’t want to listen to the
    attorneys. The attorneys kept telling them, "Don’t testify. We’re
    not prepared for it."

    This gives us hope, my whole family hope, gives me hope, my brothers
    hope. I’ve been taking care of the family since 15 years old, paying
    all the bills in the house, taking care of six nieces and nephews,
    taking care of my mother, my father, taking care of my three
    brothers in prison. It’s been hard, but that’s not the hard part.
    The hardest part is having three innocent brothers in prison for no
    reason at all.

    *PROTESTERS:* No justice! No peace!

    *MAHA HILAL:* My name is Dr. Maha Hilal, and I’m from the National
    Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. I would hope that this case
    will shed light, but unfortunately it’s been quite difficult to
    prove the fact that there’s significant religious bias in all of
    these cases, that individuals are essentially being criminalized for
    being Muslim, that when they say things like "Allahu Akbar," that’s
    a basis for which the government can choose to persecute these Muslims.

    *MAURICE AWA KHAN:* My name is Maurice Awa Khan [/phon./]. And this
    is, for me, one of the most heartbreaking cases, I mean, involving
    five young men who did nothing except, you know, enjoy themselves on
    a vacation in the Poconos, and then had their lives turned upside
    down because of the way that someone misinterpreted a videotape that
    they had given to a Circuit City store to have duplicated.

    *ZURATA DUKA:* My name is Zurata Duka. I am the mother of the three
    sons—Eljvir Duka, Dritan Duka and Shain Duka. My sons, you know,
    they are strong, but, you know, especially Dritan, he was for six
    years in solitary, and they was far away from me. It was very hard
    for me. And Eljvir, too, now he’s about two, three years in solitary
    there, you know. It’s like they’re making like a mental, you
    know—it’s not abuse, but it’s abuse by the brain. And it’s very,
    very hard for me to listen, to see my sons to suffer like this, when
    they are innocent. We came in this country to support this country.
    My sons, they used to work on the roof, not to think about these things.

    *LYNNE JACKSON:* So, in a few minutes, we’re going to go in. Maha is
    just going to make a short statement. In a few minutes, we’re going
    to go in.

    *MAHA HILAL:* We can no longer accept that the FBI is allowed to run
    around the country and entrap and surveil Muslims without any
    accountability and to continue to destroy Muslim lives, their
    families and the communities from which they belong. The family is
    lining up right now to go in the courtroom.

    *PROTESTERS:* Free the Dukas now! Free the Dukas now!

    *MUHAMMAD MULLICK:* My name is Muhammad Mullick. I’m here in
    solidarity with the Fort Dix Five. I feel that there’s a great
    injustice that’s been committed. This is the context of
    Islamophobia, that’s rampant in this country. And as you can see,
    it’s early in the morning, it’s cold, but we’re here heated up for
    justice.

    *ERICA MINES:* My name is Erica Mines. I’m a member and an organizer
    of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. We’re going in to show up
    to pack the courts in support of the Fort Dix Five and the Duka family.

    *PROTESTERS:* The Duka family is on the move, and they won’t be
    stopped! The Duka family is on the move, and they won’t be stopped!

    *FERKE DUKA:* I feel so happy when I see all these people here. My
    first name is Ferke, Duka. I’m the father of Duka brothers. We’re
    going to see them in the court today. And I hope it’s going to
    be—they’re going to be together, all three of them, but I don’t
    know. It’s up to them. But we’re hoping for justice. And I hope we
    will prevail, God willing.

*AMY GOODMAN:* Special thanks to /Democracy Now!/'s Hany Massoud. We 
only have 30 seconds, Bob Boyle. You're Shain Duka’s appellate attorney. 
What is most important to understand? Then we’ll continue the interview 
and post it online.

*ROBERT BOYLE:* These were young men, young Muslim men, who were trying 
to earn a living, who were—did have certain ideas, vocally critical of 
U.S. policies in Muslim lands, but who did not engage in any illegal 
activity. It was only because of their religion and their thoughts that 
the FBI, with no proof of criminality, put two different informants, 
entrapped them into various conversations, but still never were able to 
prove an agreement to do anything. These are young men who are now 
serving life without parole under horrendous conditions.

*AMY GOODMAN:* The hearing will—the results will be given out in March?

*ROBERT BOYLE:* The results should be available in March. Thank you, yes.

*AMY GOODMAN:* We’re going to leave it there. Bob Boyle, we’ll continue 
the conversation at democracynow.org.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20160107/dfc927f6/attachment.html>


More information about the PPnews mailing list