Brother Ahmed Abu Ali

Ahmed Abu Ali was arrested in Medina, Saudi Arabia at the Islamic University of Medina as he was taking his final exams. Saudi mabahith (intelligence) officers arrested him at the behest of US officials and tortured him into falsely confessing to plotting to assassinate President Bush among other things. After being held for nearly two years in Saudi Arabia without any charges, Mr. Abu-Ali was transferred to the custody of the United States and charged with nine counts of conspiracy and other terrorism-related charges with a penalty of a minimum twenty years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The judge refused to suppress the confession that was extracted under torture, and he refused to allow the defense expert witnesses testify that Mr. Abu-Ali showed signs of torture and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his abuse and torture in Saudi Arabia. The judge also allowed the government to present its own expert witnesses and to present the testimony of the Saudi guards who had tortured Mr. Abu Ali. They testified that they never tortured Mr. Abu-Ali and that Saudi Arabia does not torture anyone. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all charges after deliberating for only two days. The district judge sentenced Mr. Abu-Ali to 30 years in prison, noting his outstanding character and demeanor as well as the tremendous amount of support he has in the community. The judge also noted the fact that he had received hundreds of letters of support from the community urging the judge to give Mr. Abu-Ali the lowest sentence possible.

Following his sentencing, Mr. Abu-Ali was transferred to the Colorado supermax prison, where he is currently being held in solitary confinement. He is under lockdown for 23 hours per day, and he is not allowed any contact with the outside world except for his family and attorneys. His communication with his family is also limited.

Mr. Abu-Ali filed an appeal in the Fourth Circuit, but his sentence was upheld. The government cross-appealed and won, and the appellate court ruled that Mr. Abu-Ali’s sentence needed to be increased to a sentence of life in prison. The Supreme Court denied certiorari and refused to review his case. On May 18, 2009, the District Court in Alexandria, VA will re-sentence Mr. Abu-Ali. Ahmed Abu-Ali is now planning to file a writ of habeas corpus to challenge the constitutionality of his detention in the federal court in Alexandria, VA. – May Allah ease his affairs and grant him freedom, ameen!

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