12:59 - 25 February, 2005
Ahmed Abu Ali
Here Is The USG case
This man was The Valedictorian at his school. Has Not committed a crime and has been tortured under direct orders from the Whitehouse...why??
Now he is accused of an assassination plot??????
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - Family and friends who packed a Virginia courtroom to support Ahmed Omar Abu Ali laughed out loud when prosecutors alleged that the former high school valedictorian had plotted to assassinate President Bush.
Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Falls Church, was charged Tuesday with conspiring with al-Qaida to kill the president in a plan that prosecutors said was hatched while the man studied in Saudi Arabia in 2002 and 2003.
Those who know Abu Ali said the accusation simply does not jibe with the mild-mannered boy they knew through his active role in northern Virginia's Muslim community.
"Three words describe him: calm, quiet peaceful," said Jamal Abdulmoty, who knows the Abu Ali family. "He was very wise, very mature for his age. ... We cannot imagine" that he would be involved in an assassination plot.
Abu Ali had been detained for nearly two years by the Saudi Arabian government. His family sued the U.S. government shortly after his arrest there, claiming the Saudis were essentially holding him at the U.S. government's request.
He was returned to the United States and made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court shortly after his arrival Tuesday at Dulles International Airport. He did not enter a plea, but his lawyer said he would plead innocent.
Despite the serious charges Abu Ali faces, his family said Tuesday it was a victory just to have him back in the United States.
"As long as Ahmed has his day in court, I know he will be innocent," said his mother, Faten Abu Ali.
His father, Omar Abu Ali, said Ahmed was born in Houston and raised in northern Virginia, just a few miles from the nation's capital. He attended the Islamic Saudi Academy and graduated as valedictorian.
The private school's teachings have come under scrutiny since the Sept. 11 attacks. Federal court documents in a case against another academy graduate suspected of terrorism indicate that student discussions following Sept. 11 took an anti-American bent and that some students considered the attacks legitimate "payback" for American mistreatment of the Muslim world.
Last year, the school also faced criticism for using textbooks that taught first-graders that Judaism and Christianity are false religions.
Omar Abu Ali, who hadn't seen his son for several years before Tuesday's court appearance, said his son looked "OK" but that he seemed to have lost weight. He had no doubt of his son's innocence.
"It's lies. It's all lies," he said of the government's case.
Abu Ali's lawyers expressed concern that the government's case may be based on evidence obtained through torture. At Tuesday's hearing, Abu Ali offered to show the judge the scars on his back as proof that he was tortured by Saudi authorities.
"He has the evidence on his back," lawyer Ashraf Nubani told the court. "He was whipped. He was handcuffed for days at a time."
According to the indictment, Abu Ali discussed Bush-assassination plans with an unidentified al-Qaida member in 2002 and 2003, while Abu Ali was attending college in Saudi Arabia.
They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali "would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street" and, alternatively, "an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb."
While the indictment does not identify the conspirator, it says he was one of 19 people publicly identified by the Saudi government in 2003 as terrorists.
The only other detail of the alleged plot in the indictment states that Abu Ali received a religious blessing from another unidentified conspirator to assassinate the president.
The White House had no comment on the indictment, referring questions to the Justice Department.
U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty said in a statement Tuesday that "after the devastating terrorist attack ... of Sept. 11, this defendant turned his back on America and joined the cause of al-Qaida. He now stands charged with some of the most serious offenses our nation can bring against supporters of terrorism."
More than 100 friends and family jammed the courthouse to show their support for Abu Ali. Many of them laughed in the courtroom when government lawyers described the alleged assassination plot.
The court papers also spell out some of Abu Ali's alleged associations with al-Qaida. In September 2002, according to the indictment, Abu Ali told a friend of his interest in joining al-Qaida. At one point, Abu Ali decided to fight against the Americans in Afghanistan, and unsuccessfully applied for a visa to Iran as a means to gain entry into Afghanistan, according to the indictment.
Al-Qaida members also allegedly provided training in weapons, explosives and document forgery to Abu Ali, the indictment said.
Abu Ali will be in court again Thursday. His lawyers hope to obtain his release pending trial.
Here is a History.
At the request of the US government, on June 11, 2003, US citizen Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was arrested by Saudi security officers while he was taking his final exams at Medina University. Over one year has passed, and neither the US government nor the Saudi government has charged him with wrongdoing. In fact, both governments have signaled that he is innocent.
Mr. Ahmed Abu Aliís parents were told by US State Department personnel, in the presence of their attorneys and a delegation from the Council on American Islamic Relations, that a high-ranking Saudi official in charge of the case has informed the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that "Abu Ali could be rendered to American authorities at any time if the US Government made a formal request." But our government has not made a formal request.
Ahmed Abu Ali's immediate family, who live in Falls Church, Virginia, and his uncle, who lives a short distance outside of Portland, would very much like to be re-united with him. To help bring Ahmed home, Human Rights Groups are gathering public support for representatives to take strong action. The more people our members of Congress have supporting them, the more likely it is that they will be able to have the US Government request the rapid and safe return of Mr. Ahmed Abu Ali.
Also, Amnesty International is involved. Through their website, you can send a letter to Colin Powell and to the Saudi Government via their embassy in DC. Note that these pages are a bit old and are not quite, informationally, up to date.
If you would like to learn more about this case before you decide to help, please have a look at the chronology and MS Word documents that are listed below.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali: Brief Chronology of Selected Events
- 1981 through 2003 -- Mr. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was born in Houston, TX. He grew up in Virgia, and graduated from high school valedictorian of his class. In August 2002, Mr. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali went to Medinah University on a full scholarship to study Islamic Sciences.
- May 12, 2003 -- Bombings occurred in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- June 11, 2003 -- At the behest of the US Government, Mr. Abu Ali was arrested by Saudi security officers while he was taking his final exams at Medina University.
- June 11, 2003 -- On the same date, in Falls Church, Virginia, more than 15 armed FBI agents raided the home of Mr. Abu Aliís parents. They broke doors; frightened the children; and took video games belonging to the five-year-old son, family magazines, and other unrelated items. According to the search warrant, they were looking for items related to the seven defendants in the U.S. vs. Royer paintball case, and for any violations of the Neutrality Act. During the raid, FBI agents told Mr. Abu Aliís family that he had been arrested by the Saudis in an investigation of the May 12 Riyadh bombings.
- June to September 2003 -- Mr. Abu Ali experienced torture during the first month of his detention, and solitary confinement during the first three months. It was not until a month after his arrest that a US consul visited Mr. Abu Ali. "But other US officials from the embassy's Legal Attachť office -- the name for FBI stations overseas -- had far more access from the moment of his arrest, according to Saudi Embassy spokesman Adel Al-Jubeir, when asked about the family's concern for lack of access. ĎThe legal adviser at the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia had full and complete and direct access to this gentleman,í Al-Jubeir said. ĎFor us it was a representative of the US. So the US Embassy had full access as far as we were concerned.í" (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 07/26/03)
- July 25, 2003 -- During the bail hearings of Sabri Benkhala, a defendant in the U.S. v. Royer case, Mr. Abu Aliís name was mentioned for the first time. Sabri was first detained in Saudi Arabia at the same time as Mr. Abu Aliís arrest, but was then indicted and extradited to the United States. The US attorney and an FBI agent made allegations that Abu Ali had confessed during Saudi interrogations which the FBI was able to "watch and listen but not be present physically." (U.S. v. Benkhala. Transcript of Bond Review Hearing 07/25/03)
[These allegations did not resurface during the actual trial in March 2004. In fact Benkhala was found innocent on March 10, 2004, and all charges against him were dismissed. Had Mr. Abu Ali's alleged confession been legitimate, with any concrete evidence that substantiated, the prosecution would not hesitate to use it at all.]
- September 2003 -- A group of four FBI agents from Washington visited Mr. Abu Ali. Among them was FBI agent Luke Kuligoski, the agent who had led the raid on the family home in Virginia, and one of the lead investigators in the U.S. v. Royer case. This was not the first time the FBI had access to Mr. Abu Ali, but it was the first in which they openly informed the family of the visit. Agent Kuligoski called the family to say he was going to Saudi Arabia for separate business, but that he was only going to pay Mr. Ali a "courtesy visit" since he was an American citizen, offering to take him a "care kit."
- September 26, 2003 -- During a telephone call to his parents, Mr. Abu Ali said that during the three-day extensive interrogation, he had been questioned by the FBI about the eleven Virginia men indicted in U.S. v. Royer. He said that the FBI threatened him, telling him that if he did not cooperate in providing them with the answers they desired he would be sent to Guantanamo Bay, and President Bush would designate him an "enemy combatant." His interrogators also reportedly also told Mr. Abu Ali that he would be tried in Saudi Arabia without the right to an attorney.
- September 2003 -- Amnesty International wrote a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell.
- October 20, 2003 -- Mr. Abu Aliís family sent a letter to Judge Brinkema (U.S. v. Royer).
"A forced confession obtained through torture and duress should not be admitted into an American court of law. Do not allow the prosecution to strengthen their case against the Virginia men by making allegations against Ahmed in absentia, which they have done before. Ahmed himself has neither been charged nor found guilty of a crime. Any allegations made against him in his absence and without the opportunity to defend himself in front of his accusers are not legitimate."
- November 22, 2003 -- Washington Post: "Several U.S. law enforcement sources said the FBI has concluded that Abu Ali probably did not play a role in (the May 12 Riyadh bombings)." (Washington Post, 11/22/03)
- Date? -- The US Consul in Riyadh sent a cable to the US State Department (with a copy to the US Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden) stating that Mr. Abu Ali has expressed a desire to go to Sweden upon his release instead of returning home to the United States.
- May 22, 2004 -- In a telephone conversation recorded by his family, he answered "with a resounding Ďnoí" when they asked whether he had ever said anything about going to Sweden.
- May 12, 2004 -- Mr. Abu Aliís family received an e-mail message from a high-ranking FBI official in Washington stating that "this office has no further interest in Mr. Abu Aliís detention." [That office has informed the familyís lawyer that there are no charges against Mr. Abu Ali, nor is there any intention to bring any charges against him in the future.]
- May 14, 2004 -- Mr. Aliís parents were told by US State Department personnel, in the presence of their attorneys and a delegation from the Council on American Islamic Relations, that a high-ranking Saudi official in charge of the case has informed the US Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, that "Abu Ali could be rendered to American authorities at any time if the US Government made a formal request."
- Date? -- Mr. Abu Aliís family learned from a trusted source that the FBI will free him only if he revokes his citizenship and goes to another country.
- July 28, 2004 -- The World Organization for Human Rights USA and the family of Ahmed Abu Ali announce that they will file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the U.S. governmentís detention of a U.S. citizen in Saudi Arabia.
- July 29, 2004 -- The US State Department, hours after the Ahmed Abu Aliís family filed a petition in federal court, informs the family that, "according to the FBI in Riyadh, the Saudi government is planning to bring charges against your son shortly. The charges are regarding providing support to terrorism." (Washington Post, 07/30/04)
Now he is facing 80+ years in jail...for what????
"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal."
ó Martin Luther King Jr.
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