ALBANY, N.Y. — A woman will walk more than 130 miles as part of the effort to get a local imam, an Islamic leader convicted on terror-related charges, a new trial.
Supporters of Yassin Aref call it a “Journey for Justice.” They are filing a motion for a new trial, based on what they’re calling new evidence — and one woman is walking the 133 miles to Binghamton to do it.
Aref, along with local pizzeria owner, Mohammed Hossain, was arrested and convicted for aiding terrorism in 2006. The arrests followed a government sting where agents tried to get the men to purchase weapons.
Since then, supporters have been fighting to overturn those convictions.
Yassin Aref, a Kurdish imam, was entrapped by a criminal con artist hired by the FBI. Despite no evidence that Yassin supported any terrorist activity, the post-9/11 climate made the jury afraid to acquit him or his co-defendant, Mohammed Hossain. (For more information on Yassin and his case, see this article in New York Magazine, ‘Little Gitmo.’ )
Through a recent FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request, Yassin’s defense attorneys learned about secret evidence that misidentified Yassin as an Al-Qaeda agent. This evidence, which led to his conviction, was apparently shown to the trial judge and appeal court, but not to the defense.
The government convicted the wrong man. Yassin is not a terrorist.
Now the defense has prepared a motion to reopen the case based on this dramatic new evidence of mistaken identity. We are asking you to sign a petition to the judge who will, we hope, consider this motion. The petition requests that the judge give serious consideration to Yassin’s motion to reopen the case.
To publicize the importance of this motion, and to emphasize to the judge that Albany has not forgotten this case, Lynne Jackson, accompanied by other supporters, will walk 133 miles from Yassin’s homecity of Albany, New York to hand-deliver the petition to the judge, who is located in Binghamton, New York.
The “Journey for Justice”, sponsored by Project SALAM) will start at 6:00 PM on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the Masjid As-Salam in Albany, New York and end on Tuesday, July 23 at 11:00 AM at the Federal Court House, 15 Henry Street, Binghamton, New York.
Photos from Rally and Start of Walk: