Saturday, July 28, 2007

Defendent who defeats terrorism charges awaits sentencing in suburban Chicago kangaroo court

Co-defendent in phony "terrorism" charge, Dr. Abdul-Haleem Ashqar, cleared along with Mohammed Salah, but awaits sentencing on trumped up phony charges of "civil contempt" and "obstruction of justice" for failing to "testify" when demanded by criminal US Attorney John Ashcroft against other alleged Palestinian targets.

Here's a story from the Muslim Link Newspaper in Detroit:

Ashqar Awaits Community Support
By Farkhunda Ali
Muslim Link Staff Writer

The Free Dr. Ashqar Committee (FDAC), MAS Freedom Foundation, and SISTERS Committee launched a letter writing campaign in support of Dr. Abdul-Haleem Ashqar late May 2007.

The majority of the letters have been submitted from members of Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia. A small number of supporters from Dar-us-Salaam in College Park, Maryland have already begun to submit letters as well.

The next step is to ask other Masajid in the DC Area to participate in the campaign. Ashqar is depending on these letters of support to prove to the judge in his case that the Muslim community stands behind him. On February 1st, the jury found Ashqar “not guilty” of all the major charges and convicted him of lesser charges of “civil contempt” and “obstruction of justice” for not testifying against other Palestinian activists.

His sentencing is scheduled for September 7th in Chicago. He could possibly face a minimum of 18-month sentence if jailed for civil contempt. In the worst-case scenario, Ashqar faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.The defense plans to appeal the verdict on the lesser charges and will fight this case diligently until Ashqar’s family rests at home peacefully.

Ashqar’s defense team is urgently requesting additional letters of support in order to present a positive testimony on behalf of its client. So far, Ashqar’s legal counsel stated they have received 300 letters of support.

The objective of the mass letter writing campaign is to gather 700 support letters before the sentence to present to the Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve asking her to show mercy when deciding on a sentence.

The FDAC did not return any phone calls regarding the letter writing campaign. Ashqar told the Muslim Link he is pleading the community to come forth in large numbers to get as many support letters as possible.

According to Ashqar’s legal counsel, the judge has agreed to read all letters and take them into consideration when deciding on the sentence terms.

After a lengthy jury deliberation in Chicago, Ashqar and his co-defendant Muhammad Salah were acquitted of the most serious charges in February by a federal jury of the racketeering conspiracy charges. This acquittal came at the end of four months trial that took place in Chicago, IL. The previous verdict safeguarded both defendants from possibly facing a maximum life prison terms for terrorism related conspiracy charges. Their victory proved that Americans still value their core Constitutional principles. Judge St. Eve decided not to incriminate Ashqar and Salah for exercising their first amendment rights of freedom of speech.On July 11, 2007, the co-defendant Salah was sentenced to 21-months in federal prison for lying under oath in a civil lawsuit. Salah, 54, was also fined $25,000 and ordered 100 hours of community service.

Ashqar’s defense team did not make any comments regarding the pending negotiations with the probation officer on sentencing guidelines.

“The most challenging thing is counting all of the wonderful letters that we have received from the Muslim community,” said Attorney Bill Moffit, defense attorney of Ashqar.

All supporters are instructed to write their name, address, and phone number. Please include your professional and education background and city of residence. The letter should include information on how one knows Ashqar and the period of time of acquaintance.

The letter should answer the following questions: What is your impression of the type of person he is? Do you think of him as an honest human being? Why?

The letter can be concluded by stating some personal thoughts on the trial, Ashqar and his life. All writers are advised to be polite in their requests to reconsider Ashqar’s verdict or to have clemency in sentencing.

The letters will go straight to Honorable Judge Amy St. Eve. The letters can be mailed to: Mr. WILLIAM B. MOFFITT ESQ. , 11582 GREENWICH POINT ROAD, RESTON, VA 20194. For more information, Email or visit