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Friday, January 14, 2005

Stacking the Deck


In Brooklyn, today, 300 potential jurors showed up for the usual pre-selection questionnaire. Mohammed al-Hasan al-Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Zahya Zayed are accused of having given financial and material support to al-Qaida and Hamas.
The defense they have developed is to show that they were entrapped.

On the other side of the world, in Yemen, four witnesses for al-Moayad and Zayed were to board a plane and show up in Brooklyn, NY to testify on their behalf. However, the US consular office has revoked their Visas on “national security grounds.” To make a long story short, it would appear that the Defense is “SOL” in reference to these witnesses since the trial will not be continued.

Personally, I’m conservative. I fully support taking the war to the terrorists rather than an apathetic position of “wait and see what happens next.” I support GITMO. I, even, support various forms of creative and aggressive persuasion in securing information from captive terrorists. However, this move is “crap.” Al-Moayad and Zayed are being tried in an American Court. They are welcome to provide a defense, no matter how contrived and creative. Pulling Visas from their prospective witnesses in order to weaken the defense is disgraceful. If the prosecution has a valid case, there is no reason to block witnesses with this sophomoric action. The DOJ in collaboration with the State Department overstepped the line on this one.

Witnesses in terror case denied visas
By Anthony M. Destefano


U.S. consular officials in Yemen canceled on “national security grounds” visas that had been issued to four people needed as defense witnesses in a Brooklyn terrorism case, attorneys for the defendants said Monday.

Defense attorneys for Mohammed Al Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed disclosed the revocation of the visas just as preliminary jury selection was getting under way yesterday in Brooklyn federal court.

Al-Moayad, 56, a cleric from Yemen, and his assistant Zayed, 31, are scheduled to go on trial on charges they conspired to give support to the terrorist groups al-Qaida and Hamas. Al-Moayad is also charged with giving material support to those groups.

Attorney Jonathan Marks, who is representing Zayed, told Judge Sterling Johnson in court that the visas had been canceled.
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