Ahmed Omar Abu Ali:
Al-Qaeda Terrorist OR Innocent Human Being ???
Traitor to His Country AND/OR Betrayed By His Country ???
December 16th, 2004: Setting the Stage
“The writ of habeas corpus commands general recognition as the essential remedy to
safeguard a citizen against imprisonment by State or Nation in violation of his constitutional
requires the Court to give substance to those words. Petitioner Ahmed Abu Ali (“Abu Ali”) is a
citizen of the United States who, through his parents, has filed a petition for a writ of habeas
corpus against several officials of
his ongoing detention since June
2003 in a prison of the
behest and ongoing supervision of
Petitioners have provided evidence, of varying degrees of competence and persuasiveness,
interrogated Abu Ali in the Saudi
prison; (iii) the
States officials upon a request by the
subjected to torture while in the
Saudi prison. The
rebuttal. Instead, it insists that a federal district court has no jurisdiction to consider the habeas
petition of a
dismiss the petition forthwith. The position advanced by the
authority sought would permit the
executive, at his discretion, to deliver a
a foreign country to avoid constitutional scrutiny, or, as is alleged and to some degree
substantiated here, work through the
intermediary of a foreign country to detain a
The Court concludes that a citizen cannot be so easily separated from his constitutional
rights. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court confirmed the fundamental right of a citizen to be free
from involuntary, indefinite confinement by his government without due process. See Hamdi v.
hostilities -- rather, he was arrested in a university classroom while taking an exam. The United
States has therefore not invoked the executive's war powers as a rationale for his detention --
the country as a basis to insulate Abu Ali’s detention from judicial scrutiny. There are, to be sure,
considerable and delicate principles of separation of powers that dictate caution and will narrow
the inquiry in this case. Such principles, however, have never been read to extinguish the
fundamental due process rights of a
citizen of the
detention at the will of the executive, and to access to the courts through the Great Writ of habeas
corpus to challenge the legality of that detention.
The present posture of this case requires this Court to accept petitioners’ well-supported
allegations, to which the
authority, and corresponding contention that this Court lacks jurisdiction, cannot withstand
petitioners’ assertions at this time. The Court will accordingly authorize expeditious jurisdictional
discovery in this matter to further explore those contentions. The process of defining the scope of
that discovery is set out in the accompanying order. In the meantime, the request of the United
States to dismiss the petition for lack of habeas corpus jurisdiction will be denied.”
United States District Judge John Bates in his Memorandum Opinion for
Important Court Documents
Omar Abu Ali vs. John Ashcroft - Judge John Bates analysis of the case.
United States vs. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali - U.S. Indictment and Charges against Ahmed Omar Abu Ali.
June, 11, 2003: The Day he lost his Freedom
Taking a final exam can sometimes be a very daunting
task. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali,
Valedictorian of his 1999 class of the Islamic Saudi Academy (a private school
FBI Agents raided Abu Ali’s house in
It is important to note that while possession of such materials might arouse suspicion, people read all sorts of material to gain knowledge of different viewpoints.
The interesting piece of evidence however the FBI claims to have found was a 6 page document regarding various forms of surveillance by government and private entities detailing how to avoid such surveillance.
FBI Agents visited Ahmed Omar Abu Ali in Saudi prison and thoroughly questioned him for at least 4 days.
By Caryle Murphy and John Mintz
Saturday, November 22, 2003; Page A01
The strongest clue about the
reasons for his imprisonment came in July, from an FBI agent testifying in
federal court in
With no public evidence or open
court hearing in Abu Ali's case, the
degree to which he may have been involved in terrorism remains a mystery.
Neither Saudi nor U.S. authorities will say publicly whether charges have been
filed against him or tell his family what alleged acts led to his lengthy
detention. His rights as a
"If you think our son is guilty, bring him to this country," said his mother, Faten Abu Ali. "Don't have him in a country where we can't guarantee his rights. . . . Bring him into his own country in its courts, where justice can be served." …
One reason U.S. officials have said they are interested in Abu Ali is his alleged ties to the Northern Virginia men accused of conspiring to support al Qaeda and wage "violent jihad" on behalf of Muslims abroad. …
Abu Ali's family said that he knows some of the defendants in the jihad case but that this is not unusual because they were all in the same circle of young men who attended Dar Al Hijrah. One defendant in that case, Randall Todd Royer, said in an interview this year that Abu Ali had "played once or twice" with the paintball group. …
In an Oct. 10 call, he told his parents that
FBI agents had interrogated him for
several hours and threatened to send him to
"Mom, what am I supposed to do?" Faten recalled her son saying on the phone. "I have two countries against me!"
Over 6 months passed by and there was no luck for the family in getting their son back.
Imagine how that must feel for any mother. Your son is in jail in foreign country with no access to a lawyer and your own government could care less and will not do anything to help you get him back.
June 17, 2004: The
MAS Protest in
MAS protests detention of
Abu-Ali was detained during '
WASHINGTON, June 17, 2004- A US Muslim group today protested the detention of a US national who has been held in Saudi Arabia for more than a year, saying he had been jailed at Washington's request and could be tortured.
Dozens of people took
part in the Muslim American Society's demonstration in front of the State
Department and sent letters to President George W. Bush and Secretary of State
Colin Powell to explain their concern for
Ahmed Abu-Ali, 23, who was born
The group said in a statement that, according to Saudi officials, Abu-Ali was being held at US authorities' request, without formal charges.
Last week, an FBI
official told members of the
family, which gave interviews last fall about the case, has argued that he
should be brought home to face trial in a
Ahmed Abu Ali’s family decided to sue the United States Government to get their son back. However, as the following article indicates, they had a very tough time getting a lawyer to represent them.
From Cramped Office, Students Accomplish Major Change in Law
Rights Group Plays Key Role in Terrorism Case
By Carol D. Leonnig
Yet all the big advocacy groups,
most based in
Sheikholeslami, the 21-year-old intern answering the
phone that day last June, thought the case had promise. So did her boss, Morton
Sklar, executive director of the cramped, slightly
The case was accepted by Morton Sklar and the World Organziation for Human Rights USA.
By Thom J. Rose
Washington, DC, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- The family of Ahmed Abu Ali, who has been detained in Saudi Arabia for more than a year, announced plans Wednesday for the next phase of their U.S. court battle to return him to the United States.
said that five hours after the family submitted its case, a government
representative contacted them to say that
"We didn't expect that to happen," Sklar said.
said the announcement just five hours after the case was filed that
Saudi Embassy would give no comment, saying
Sklar said he will respond to the call by filing a preliminary injunction based on the legal principle that once a court case is filed the involved parties are not allowed to change the circumstances surrounding the case in a way that might interfere with the trial.
it stands, the family's lawsuit, which calls on
Shown on C-SPAN
Hosted by Congressman John Conyers
“These hearings are an effort to focus on what has happened to Civil Rights and Civil Liberties since that period in time and to highlight what kinds of solutions are necessary for the continued assurance that these very important liberties and rights will be preserved.”
- Congressman John Conyers
“Let me thank each of the panelists thus far because I know
that the American people appreciate as I do the advocacy of persons who have
become victims on this effort to turn the clock back on our most basic rights as
- Reverend Walter Fauntroy
“Thank you Reverend Fauntroy… Thank you for Congressman Conyers for hosting this hearing…
I am pretty young, probably younger than most of the panelists, I’m 22 years old and I’m a student…
Ahmed Abu Ali is a U.S. Citizen who has been detained in
Ahmed was born in
It was not until 2 months after Ahmed’s arrest, 2 months of darkness that we received our first phone call from him. When his calls finally started, instead of comforting and assuring us we were constantly restless by what we heard from him.
His calls were monitored by prison guards who would hurt him if he merely said his food was bland so he could not tell us what was going on but he alluded constantly. He was constantly confused, disoriented, and unable to finish sentences…
On more than one occasion, he had the courage to tell us straightforwardly that he was being hurt but told us not to ask him any further questions. With equal courage my mother started documenting these statements that my brother was making and even started tape recording his phone calls…
Since Ahmed’s arrest officials at the Saudi embassy have
consistently told my father that Ahmed has not violated Saudi laws and that
there are no plans to prosecute him in
They have described Ahmed’s arrest and detention as “an
American case” that
In May 2004, an official at the Saudi embassy told my father that if he ever wanted to see his son come back home, he should pressure the U.S. officials to request his release and that is in fact what we have done, we have filed a lawsuit…
Officials at the U.S. Embassy and State Dept. have repeatedly dismissed and ignored our complaints that Ahmed has been psychologically and physically abused…
Their own advice says
So what did Ahmed do to determine this treatment and neglect? I’m at loss to find an answer…
He(Ahmed Abu Ali) has been reduced to damaged goods. An embarrassment and scandal to be avoided at all costs.”
- Tasneen Abu Ali, Sister of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
For the video of the complete testimony and hearing, please go to <http://www.cspan.org/>
Judge John Bates denied the request of the U.S. Government to drop the lawsuit based on habeas corpus jurisdiction.
Family Of Saudis' Detainee Set Back
By Caryle Murphy
A federal judge in
The ruling by U.S.
District Judge John D. Bates means that many records in the case, including
those that might show whether the
Judge weighs use of classified information
WASHINGTON (CNN) --
Attorneys for the family of an American citizen detained in
U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled in December there was evidence to support the family's allegation, allowing the case to move forward and the family's attorneys to request evidence from the government.
The Justice Department
has repeatedly tried to get the lawsuit dismissed, arguing the case is outside
the jurisdiction of
Bates has yet to rule on jurisdiction, pending the outcome of the evidence from both sides.
Bates said Friday he is "very concerned" about making sure the information provided by the government is protected but "equally concerned" with protecting Abu Ali's rights.
So what happens now?
The U.S. Government could now be forced to testify about its involvement
in Abu Ali’s detention in
They “finally” decide to extradite him and charge him.
Man held for 20 months expected to face charges
Monday, February 21, 2005 Posted: 8:48 PM EST (0148 GMT)
The transfer of custody
follows a recent demand by the
Abu Ali's family said it has been told he will face unspecified charges in federal court. He is expected to make an appearance in U.S. District Court sometime Tuesday.
His father Omar Abu
Ali, said he got a call from the FBI telling him his
son was coming back from
American charged in alleged plot to assassinate President Bush
Wednesday, February 23, 2005 Posted: 1:40 PM EST (1840 GMT)
The 23-year-old Abu Ali is not charged with a conspiracy to assassinate Bush, only for supporting terrorists and, as part of that, discussing Bush's possible assassination. He was denied bail Tuesday.
The indictment offered no evidence that the discussions ever advanced into a plan.
When the charges were read in court, his supporters and family members laughed.
N.Va. Man Admitted Terror Plot, Agent Says
By Jerry Markon
Wednesday, March 2, 2005; Page A01
"The defendant was given a choice by al Qaeda," Cole told a
courtroom packed with Abu Ali's supporters and family members. "He was told he
could be part of an operation and martyr himself or go back to the
Law enforcement officials have said there was division within the government about how to handle Abu Ali, with some officials believing the case against him to be weak.
Officials revealed at
the hearing that the case against Abu Ali is highly dependent on Saudi
sources. Much of it comes from a confession Abu Ali reputedly
hand-wrote while imprisoned in
Under questioning from prosecutors, Cole said
Abu Ali asked for a lawyer when a four-person government team -- two FBI agents,
an FBI analyst and a Secret Service agent -- tried to interview him in
"I told him that because he was in Saudi custody, he was not entitled to an attorney. They would not allow it," Cole testified.
Cole said that Abu Ali eventually agreed to talk and that he and other agents then continued questioning him to gather intelligence -- and not to obtain evidence for a criminal case -- because "we felt that the information was so vital to national security.''
Will Torture Claims Sink Terror Case?
The Justice Department’s surprise decision to charge a young American accused of planning to assassinate President Bush could raise tough questions about U.S. treatment of terror suspects—and embarrass one of America’s allies
Ali's parents say that officials told
them repeatedly that the government had no plans to charge their
son. That is, until
the government charged their son.
Why now? We may never know for sure. But it's easy to speculate that the posture of the Abu Ali case against the government finally prompted the feds to lay their cards on the table. In that detention case, a federal judge in December ordered the government to provide information to Abu Ali's family (at that point he presumably was still being held by the Saudis) that would shed light on his detention; information the government had stubbornly refused to provide on national security grounds. Knowing that its legal position had become untenable, and thanks to increased public awareness about Abu Ali's story, it's entirely possible that the government decided it would roll the dice and try Abu Ali rather than authorize his release. The best defense is a good offense, you might say.
The Abu Ali Case
and Balancing "Civil" Liberties and Security
by Daniel Pipes (
Mr. Abu Ali's biography indicates how he might have ended up as an Al Qaeda operative.
He attended the
Islamic Saudi Academy in
analysts evince no concern that an American citizen trained by the Saudi
The details of “Co-Conspirator #2” from the Government’s Indictment was revealed.
The first multi-expert blog dedicated solely to counterterrorism issues, serving as a gateway to the community for policymakers and serious researchers. Designed to provide realtime information about cases and policy developments.
to Abu Ali's Al-Qaida Contacts in
latest USDOJ filing in the case of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali offers tantalizing clues
as to the alleged identity of his Al-Qaida contacts in
in or around September 2002 and on or about June 9, 2003, the defendant joined a
clandestine al-Qaeda cell in
last detail narrows the field considerably as to the identity of Co-Conspirator
#2. That September, there was only one shoot-out of note between Saudi
security forces and Al-Qaida members wanted for their
involvement in the May 2003 suicide bombings in
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was arrested in June 2003. At the time, Zubayr Al-Rimi, a.k.a. “Co-Conspirator 2” was alive and not killed until September 2003. If Ahmed Omar Abu Ali and “Co-Conspirator 2” had any terrorist and criminal plans, then why was Ahmed Omar Abu Ali not charged with a crime in 2003???
Why now over a year after Al-Rimi has been dead?
Washington-based constitutional attorney, professor at
COLE: Well, he was arrested in
DAVID COLE: Well, at this point, you know, what he is facing serious criminal charges. Criminal charges that I think are going to be very difficult for the government to actually prove out because if you -- if you look at the indictment, it consists almost entirely of statements from -- or paraphrases of allegations from unidentified quote-unquote co-conspirators, all of whom are in Saudi Arabia and are presumably Saudis who were captured and interrogated by the Saudis.
DAVID COLE: Well, I think the real -- You have to ask what is our country coming to when it locks up its own citizens abroad in order to avoid any kind of significant judicial review and then charges them with the statements of dead people involving conversations and no more. What have we come to in the war on terrorism? This is how far the government is pushing to try to show results in its efforts.
As mentioned above, the identity of “Co-Conspirator #2” was revealed by the Counter-Terrorism Blog as Zubayr Al-Rimi who is dead and was killed in a shootout with Saudi Security Forces in September of 2003.
However, the identity of the other 9 so-called “Co-Conspirators” is still a mystery.
misrepresented NY Times,
During the February 24
edition of FOX News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly quoted
editorials by The New York Times and The Washington
Post out of context in order to support his accusation that the newspapers
were siding with an accused terrorist against the
O'Reilly also used a false claim to attack the
Post and the Times for expressing concern that Abu Ali might have
been tortured in
O'REILLY: But I don't understand why -- the mindset
of the other side -- of the Times and the Post. Why do they care
about Abu Ali, if he got slapped around in
In fact, at Abu Ali's first and only courtroom appearance, as described in a February 23 Post article, "Defense attorneys told the judge that Abu Ali had been tortured in Saudi Arabia and offered to show the judge proof right in the courtroom." O'Reilly's claim about Abu Ali's "testimony" was apparently a reference to a claim by U.S. prosecutors: a February 24 Post article on the case quoted federal prosecutors as saying that "the consul at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh met with Abu Ali several times during his detention and that Abu Ali never complained of mistreatment. They said he described his treatment as 'kind' and 'humane.'" But there is reason to distrust these alleged statements, which were not sworn testimony, given that Abu Ali was still in Saudi custody at the time he made them.
O'Reilly's guest analyst on the program,
conservative terrorism expert Lorenzo Vidino of the
Investigative Project, also disputed O'Reilly's assertion. When asked by O'Reilly if he was "buying"
Abu Ali's torture accusation, he replied, "Well, we can't rule it out.
A Tangled Web
By Michael Isikoff
He's accused of plotting to assassinate Bush. But even some Feds think the government won't win.
are acutely aware of these problems-which is one reason Abu Ali's nearly
two-year-old criminal case remained unaddressed in
After searching his
From Terry Frieden
In court Monday, federal prosecutor David Laufman said the trial would require non-U.S. witnesses and the use of classified material. Laufman asked for a delay until October for the trial.
But Ashraf Nubani, an attorney
representing Abu Ali, told the court he wanted the trial to begin promptly. He
"They've had complete access to him for 20 months," Nubani complained to the judge. "They want time to concoct a case."
We now come to the $64,000 dollar questions.
U.S. Government’s Allegations in the Indictment United States vs. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali:
BETWEEN September 2002 and 2003, Abu Ali violated 6 Counts of U.S. Law…
1) Why was Abu
Ali NOT extradited to the
2) Why did his
family have to sue the U.S. Government to get him back into the
3) Why did the U.S. Government take the position that it had “no jurisdiction” in this case and what was it planning to do, had Judge John Bates ruled in its favor and simply dismissed the case as requested by the U.S. Government?
“One nation, Under God, Indivisible, with
“We the people” request that our Government treat people
But I would love to hear what the feds have to say as way of explanation for why they were so slow in coming to Abu Ali's rescue, even after the Saudis apparently said they had no interest in prosecuting him themselves. Are the feds bluffing? Are they hoping that by prosecuting Abu Ali they will force him to cave, a la John Walker Lindh? Or are they confident still that they will never have to offer details about how Abu Ali was treated? If Abu Ali wasn't treated poorly, why did a federal judge already order the government to reveal more about the matter? And if he was treated poorly, and if the government was indeed on the fence about charging him in the first place, why is there a criminal case at all?
The Strange Case of Ahmed Omar Abu Ali:
Troubling Questions about the Government's Motives and Tactics
By ELAINE CASSEL
But, readers may
object, what if the
This is not too much to ask. And it is what the Constitution requires.
A federal jury found Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 24, guilty on nine
counts, including conspiracy to kill Mr Bush,
conspiracy to hijack a plane and offering to aid Osama bin Laden's terrorism network, according to Edward Adams, a
spokesman for US District Court in
He could face life in prison.
Abu Ali's defence lawyers said he
was tortured into making false statements in
But Judge Gerald Bruce Lee admitted the confessions as evidence over the objections of Abu Ali's lawyers.
A resident of
Wednesday , 14 December 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The trial of a
In a report, the rights group criticised a federal judge for refusing to let a jury hear supporting evidence from Ahmed Abu Ali that his confession made in
Last month a jury found Abu Ali, 24, guilty of all charges in a nine-count indictment. Federal prosecutors had based the case against Abu Ali almost entirely on confessions he made while in Saudi custody for 20 months.
"To fail to permit the introduction of evidence regarding Saudi Arabia's reputation for using torture -- a reputation well-documented in our own State Department's human rights reports -- casts serious doubts on the jury's ability to make an informed judgement," said Amnesty International USA executive director William Schulz.
"Amnesty International is very concerned that this trial sets the devastating precedent in
Man gets 30 years in plot to kill Bush
Prosecutors had asked
for the maximum -- a life sentence -- for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 25-year-old
Authorities said Abu
Ali went to
"The facts of this case are still astonishing," prosecutor David Laufman said. "Barely a year after Sept. 11 the defendant joined the organization responsible for 3,000 deaths."
But U.S. District
Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said 30 years was sufficient punishment, pointing out
that Lindh -- captured on the battlefield in
Abu Ali, wearing a green prison jumpsuit, declined to speak before his sentence was imposed. Defense lawyers said they plan to appeal.
He was convicted in November of conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaida, among other crimes.
The jury in the
three-week trial saw a videotaped confession Abu Ali gave to the Saudis in which
he said he joined al-Qaida because he hated the
He claimed that the Saudis had extracted a confession from him through torture. Prosecutors denied he was mistreated.
Abu Ali said he had the scars on his back that proved he was whipped or beaten by the Saudis. Pictures were taken of his back, and doctors for both the government and the defense examined him, coming to different conclusions.
In February, defense lawyers asked for a review of the conviction in light of the disclosure that the Bush administration had eavesdropped on suspected terrorists' conversations without search warrants. Abu Ali's lawyers said they suspected, but had no firm evidence, that Abu Ali had been a target of the surveillance program.
The government's response was not made public, but the judge decided to go ahead with the sentencing after receiving it.