Dr. Abdelhaleem Ashqar, co-defendant in the case of United States v. Salah, will be sentenced this Thursday, November 8, 2007.
In an unheard of move, the government is seeking a life sentence.
For many observers, the case has amounted to political persecution. The jury acquitted both defendants of all major charges but convicted them of lesser charges unrelated to terrorism: both were found guilty of obstruction of justice and Dr. Ashqar for criminal contempt for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury.
PLEASE ATTEND SENTENCING:
Thursday, November 8, 2007
**It is recommended to arrive starting at 8:00 a.m. for seating. Overflow seating is available for those arriving at 10:00 a.m. or later.
Where: Courtroom of Judge Amy St. Eve
Dirksen Federal Building
219 S. Dearborn (at Jackson & Dearborn)
Chicago, IL 60604
Mr. Salah and Dr. Ashqar were indicted on counts of racketeering conspiracy for allegedly funneling money to Hamas. The government’s case was based largely on statements Mr. Salah says he gave while being tortured. Judge St. Eve denied a motion to suppress that evidence, despite the fact that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, routinely tortured arrestees during the period Mr. Salah was in prison. The government sought a hefty 10 year prison term for Salah, and is now seeking a life sentence for Ashqar.
Through its targeting of Mr. Salah and Dr. Ashqar, the Bush administration has attempted to criminalize charitable aid to Palestinians. The government spent significant taxpayer resources in the prosecution of this case, and the lives of Dr. Ashqar and Mr. Salah have been disrupted for years. The defendants are neither terrorists nor criminals for having supplied charitable aid to the most vulnerable factions of their occupied and war-ravaged country of origin, Palestine.