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


                                                       Memorandum Opinion


“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

rights.” United States v. Morgan, 346 U.S. 502, 506 n.3 (1954) (quotation omitted). This case

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 the United States (“respondents” or “United States”) challenging

his ongoing detention since June 2003 in a prison of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allegedly at the

behest and ongoing supervision of the United States.


Petitioners have provided evidence, of varying degrees of competence and persuasiveness,

that: (i) the United States initiated the arrest of Abu Ali in Saudi Arabia; (ii) the United States has

interrogated Abu Ali in the Saudi prison; (iii) the United States is controlling his detention in

Saudi Arabia; (iv) the United States is keeping Abu Ali in Saudi Arabia to avoid constitutional

scrutiny by United States courts; (v) Saudi Arabia would immediately release Abu Ali to United

States officials upon a request by the United States government; and (vi) Abu Ali has been

subjected to torture while in the Saudi prison. The United States does not offer any facts in

rebuttal. Instead, it insists that a federal district court has no jurisdiction to consider the habeas

petition of a United States citizen if he is in the hands of a foreign state, and it asks this Court to

dismiss the petition forthwith. The position advanced by the United States is sweeping. The

authority sought would permit the executive, at his discretion, to deliver a United States citizen to

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 United States

citizen abroad.


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.

Rumsfeld, 124 S. Ct. 2633, 2647 (2004); id. at 2661 (Scalia, J., dissenting); see also Rasul v.

Bush, 124 S. Ct. 2686, 2692 (2004).  Abu Ali was not captured on a battlefield or in a zone of

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 --

instead, the United States relies on the executive's broad authority to conduct the foreign affairs of

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 United States to freedom from arbitrary

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 United States has not responded. The United States’ broad assertion of

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

Omar Abu Ali vs. John Ashcroft.




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.


The Calendar


June, 11, 2003:  The Day he lost his Freedom

June 16, 2003:   The House Search 

September 2003: FBI Agents visit Abu Ali in Saudi prison

November 22, 2003: Va. Man’s Months in Saudi Prison Go Unexplained

June 17, 2004: The MAS Protest in Washington, D.C.

July  2004:          Omar Abu Ali vs. John Ashcroft           

October 2004: Hearing on the Status of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties after September 11th, 2001

December 16th, 2004:  Bates sides with the family

January 2005: Bates other decisions

February 22nd, 2005:          United States vs. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali                 

February – March 2005: American Attitudes and Media Reactions

The “$64,000 Questions”

November 2005: The Trial




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 in Fairfax, VA) had no idea what would be happening to him as he was taking his final exam at the University of Medina.  It would be the day that he would “lose his freedom.”  Imagine being arrested while you are taking a final exam.


June 16, 2003:   The House Search 


FBI Agents raided Abu Ali’s house in Falls Church, VA.  They were searching his home in connection with another ongoing case at the time known as the Royer prosecution (involving Muslim men apparently put in jail for playing paintball.)  According to the Indictment, FBI Agents found an issue of Handguns magazine and a few very “extremist/radical” Islamic writings and audiotapes.


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.


September 2003: FBI Agents visit Abu Ali in Saudi prison


FBI Agents visited Ahmed Omar Abu Ali in Saudi prison and thoroughly questioned him for at least 4 days.  


November 22, 2003: Va. Man’s Months in Saudi Prison Go Unexplained


Va. Man's Months in Saudi Prison Go Unexplained

By Caryle Murphy and John Mintz

Washington Post Staff Writers
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 Alexandria in the case of a group of Northern Virginia men alleged to be part of a "jihad network." According to the agent's testimony, Abu Ali told his Saudi interrogators that he had joined an al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia and that he aspired to be a planner like Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers…


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 U.S. citizen offer him no legal protection while he is in Saudi custody. And U.S. law enforcement officials appear content to leave him where he is.   


"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 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States is holding detainees from the war on terrorism, or have him declared an "enemy combatant," which would allow U.S. authorities to jail him indefinitely without access to lawyers.


"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 Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                    Click for Calendar


MAS protests detention of American in Saudi Arabia
Abu-Ali was detained during 'Va. Jihad' probe but FBI finds no links

AMP Report


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 in the United States and is an American citizen.

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 Falls Church mosque where Abu Ali worshipped that he did not know why the student was still in jail.

Ahmed-Abu Ali's family, which gave interviews last fall about the case, has argued that he should be brought home to face trial in a U.S. court if he has done something wrong. Yet the family has been told repeatedly by FBI agents and federal prosecutors that they have no reason to file charges against him, his sister said.


On June 11, 2004, Muslim American Society Freedom sent letters to President George W. Bush, the Secretary of State Colin Powell, and 91 members of Congress calling for the immediate and safe release of Abu-Ali.




July 2004:          Omar Abu Ali vs. John Ashcroft


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

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 3, 2005



Yet all the big advocacy groups, most based in New York, turned her down. Loser case, they said. Sorry, they told her, you have no chance of successfully challenging the United States on behalf of a person held in a foreign prison.


Sheku 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 disheveled K Street office of the World Organization for Human Rights USA.




The case was accepted by Morton Sklar and the World Organziation for Human Rights USA.


U.S. family sues over Saudi detention

By Thom J. Rose
UPI Correspondent

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.



Sklar said that five hours after the family submitted its case, a government representative contacted them to say that Saudi Arabia might soon press charges against Abu Ali.

"We didn't expect that to happen," Sklar said.

He said the announcement just five hours after the case was filed that Saudi Arabia could be on the verge of pressing charges after more than a year of detaining Abu Ali might indicate that the United States is pushing Saudi Arabia to take responsibility for the detention. He said such an action indicates an effort to undercut the family's lawsuit.

The Saudi Embassy would give no comment, saying Saudi Arabia is not party to the case.

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.

As it stands, the family's lawsuit, which calls on U.S. authorities to release a U.S. citizen held by a foreign government, may be the first of its kind.




Saudi Arabia never filed any criminal charges against Ahmed Omar Abu Ali. 


October 2004: Hearing on the Status of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties after September 11th, 2001                                     Click for Calendar


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 U.S. Citizens.  Our next witness is one whom I appreciate and I’m sure the American people will appreciate because she has first hand experience with what we’ve talked about thus far.  She is Tasneen Abu Ali who is the sister of Ahmed Abu Ali.  My, I’m anxious to hear your testimony because I think the American people will find it hard to understand as I do to find out why your brother is still in prison.

- 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…


My brother Ahmed Abu Ali is a U.S. Citizen who has been detained in Saudi Arabia for the past 14 months without charges.


Ahmed was born in Houston, TX in 1981…


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 Saudi Arabia


They have described Ahmed’s arrest and detention as “an American case” that Saudi Arabia has little or no control over due to strong political pressure from the U.S. Government to keep Ahmed in Saudi custody…


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 that U.S. Citizens abroad are prone to abuse.  Their own manual, the State Dept.’s manual, it’s called the Foreign Affairs manual says if concerns of abuse are raised, they are to be investigated…


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/>


December 16th, 2004:  Bates sides with the family


Judge John Bates denied the request of the U.S. Government to drop the lawsuit based on habeas corpus jurisdiction.


January 2005: Bates other decisions                                                                                                                                                 Click for Calendar


Family Of Saudis' Detainee Set Back

U.S. Restrictions On Records Upheld

By Caryle Murphy

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 12, 2005; Page B04


A federal judge in Washington agreed with Justice Department lawyers yesterday that federal privacy restrictions bar the public release of government documents concerning a Falls Church man held without charges in Saudi Arabia since June 2003.


The ruling by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates means that many records in the case, including those that might show whether the U.S. government had a role in the detention of Ahmed Abu Ali, 23, are likely to be made available only to Abu Ali's family and its attorney, according to the attorney.






Judge weighs use of classified information


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorneys for the family of an American citizen detained in Saudi Arabia for the past 20 months argued Friday that it would be unfair to dismiss their lawsuit against the U.S. government because of classified information and undisclosed reasoning.


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 U.S. courts.

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 Saudi Arabia.   So what do they do in response?


They “finally” decide to extradite him and charge him. 


February 22nd, 2005:  United States vs. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali



Saudi Arabia handing over U.S. citizen

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 U.S. government to the Saudis to either charge Abu Ali or release him to American custody.

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 Saudi Arabia Monday night.






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

Washington Post Staff Writer
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 United States, establish a cell, marry a Christian woman, assimilate back into society and they would provide him the necessary operatives for the mission."



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 Saudi Arabia. Cole said that the confession was certified by two Saudi judges and that Abu Ali was videotaped reading it.



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 Saudi Arabia in 2003.

"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.''




February – March 2005: American Attitudes and Media Reactions                                                                                            Click for Calendar


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  (March 12, 2005)


Mr. Abu Ali's biography indicates how he might have ended up as an Al Qaeda operative.

He attended the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, Va., graduating in 1999 as class valedictorian. As an outpost of Saudi values on American soil, the academy enjoys Saudi government funding, is chaired by the Saudi ambassador in Washington, and boasts a curriculum imported straight from Riyadh. 

These liberal analysts evince no concern that an American citizen trained by the Saudi government in Virginia will stand trial for plotting to assassinate the president. They decline to explore the implications of this stunning piece of news. They offer no praise to law enforcement for having broken a terrorism case. Instead, they focus exclusively on evidentiary procedures. They know only civil liberties; national security does not register.



The details of “Co-Conspirator #2” from the Government’s Indictment was revealed. 


The Counterterrorism Blog

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.


February 24, 2005

Clues to Abu Ali's Al-Qaida Contacts in Saudi Arabia

The 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 Saudi Arabia.  According to the document:

"Between in or around September 2002 and on or about June 9, 2003, the defendant joined a clandestine al-Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia... The defendant discussed plans for assassinating President of the United States George W. Bush with a member of the al-Qaeda cell (identified in the Indictment as Coconspirator #2).  Specifically, the defendant and Coconspirator #2 discussed two options for assassinating the President: (1) an operation in which the defendant would get close enough to the President to shoot him on the street; and (2) an operation in which the defendant would detonate a car bomb... The government proffers that Coconspirator #2 later was killed in a shoot-out with Saudi law enforcement authorities in or around September 2003."

This 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 Riyadh...




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?


David Cole, Washington-based constitutional attorney, professor at Georgetown Law School and author of the book Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedom in the War on Terrorism.


DAVID COLE: Well, he was arrested in Saudi Arabia at the same time that three other Americans were arrested in Saudi Arabia. The three others were brought back to the United States for trial in conjunction with the Virginia paintball case, a case involving an alleged conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist group in Kashmir. One of his closest friends was one of the people brought back and was acquitted on all charges. But apparently the government didn't have enough evidence to charge Ahmed Abu Ali with the paintball charges and so while his name came up in the case at various points, they never charged him. But instead, they let the Saudis keep him locked up and they participated in his interrogation while he was locked up in Saudi Arabia. And were apparently content to just leave him locked up there for as long as they could. When we filed a lawsuit challenging that detention and charging that he was being held at the behest of the United States, and his judge ordered that the government disclose to us the evidence concerning its arrangements with Saudi Arabia on the holding of this U.S. citizen, at that point, the government went through incredible lengths to try to stop having to provide that information, including filing motions to dismiss entirely in secret with all the arguments and all the evidence and secrets and ultimately they indicted him, and brought him back here to the United States. Now at least he'll face a public trial.


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.


O'Reilly misrepresented NY Times, Wash. Post editorials on Abu Ali case


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 United States.

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 Saudi Arabia:

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 Saudi Arabia? I don't care whether he got slapped around in Saudi Arabia. He came back, Ali, and testified he wasn't tortured. That's on the record.

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. Listen, Saudi Arabia is known to torture some of its prisoners. We cannot rule it out."




    Terror: A Tangled Web
    By Michael Isikoff

    07 March 2005 Issue


He's accused of plotting to assassinate Bush. But even some Feds think the government won't win.


Government officials are acutely aware of these problems-which is one reason Abu Ali's nearly two-year-old criminal case remained unaddressed in U.S. courts until last week. NEWSWEEK has learned that his confession, which occurred shortly after his arrest in June 2003, was videotaped by the Saudis and immediately turned over to the FBI. The tape became the chief piece of evidence against him. But back in Washington, the case presented an agonizing dilemma for top Justice Department officials, sources said.


After searching his home in Falls Church, Va., and finding seemingly incriminating documents (including a screed by Osama bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri), federal agents became convinced that Abu Ali was indeed "a really bad guy," as one put it. Yet even the top aides to the then Attorney General John Ashcroft didn't think they had anything resembling a solid criminal case. There was no indication the alleged Bush assassination plot ever advanced beyond the talking phase. No FBI agents were there when Abu Ali made his self-incriminating confession. If the Saudis sent Abu Ali home-as they kept offering to do-Justice officials fretted the videotape would likely get tossed out of court, and Abu Ali would walk. "We didn't know what to do with this guy," one former Justice official confided to NEWSWEEK.






Man pleads innocent to al Qaeda aid in Bush plot

From Terry Frieden
CNN Washington Bureau
Monday, March 14, 2005


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 criticized the U.S. government for trying to delay the case after his client already has been held without charges for 20 months in a Saudi prison at the request of U.S. officials.

"They've had complete access to him for 20 months," Nubani complained to the judge. "They want time to concoct a case."




The “$64,000 Questions”


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 United States in 2003 (while three other defendants were)?  


2)  Why did his family have to sue the U.S. Government to get him back into the United States? 


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 Liberty and Justice for all  - American Pledge (Is it really being followed today?)


“We the people” request that our Government treat people fairly “with Liberty and Justice for all.”



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







But, readers may object, what if the U.S. really thinks Abu Ali is a terrorist? The answer is that the U.S. can still protect its citizens from him - consistent with the Constitution.


How? The U.S. could have promptly extradited him from Saudi Arabia to face charges here. Once he was here, it could have honored his right, as a U.S. citizen, to an attorney, a speedy trial, and a right to pretrial release unless the government proved that he was a danger or a flight risk.


This is not too much to ask. And it is what the Constitution requires.




November 2005: The Trial   `                                                                                                                                                   Click for Calendar


Arab-American found guilty of Bush kill plot

A US court has found an Arab-American man guilty of conspiring to assassinate President George W Bush and receiving financial aid from Al Qaeda.

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 Alexandria, Virginia.

He could face life in prison.

Abu Ali's defence lawyers said he was tortured into making false statements in Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested in June 2003.

But Judge Gerald Bruce Lee admitted the confessions as evidence over the objections of Abu Ali's lawyers.

A resident of Falls Church, Virginia, a Washington suburb, Abu Ali studied at a university in Saudi Arabia.




U.S. trial flawed without Saudi evidence - Amnesty


Wednesday , 14 December 2005


By Deborah Charles
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The trial of a U.S. man who was found guilty of conspiring with al Qaeda and plotting to kill President George W. Bush was flawed because it did not include evidence about torture in Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
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 Saudi Arabia had been obtained through torture.
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 U.S. courts that statements obtained under torture are acceptable as evidence while a country's history of documented abuse is not allowed," he said.




Man gets 30 years in plot to kill Bush

By Matthew Barakat, Associated Press Writer  |  March 30, 2006


ALEXANDRIA, Va. --An American Muslim convicted of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush was sentenced to 30 years behind bars by a judge who compared him to "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh.


Prosecutors had asked for the maximum -- a life sentence -- for Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 25-year-old U.S. citizen who was born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church.

Authorities said Abu Ali went to Saudi Arabia in 2002 out of hatred for the United States. The Saudis arrested him in June 2003 as he was taking final exams at the Islamic University of Medina.


"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 Afghanistan in November 2001 during the U.S.-led effort to topple the Taliban -- received a 20-year sentence. Abu Ali's actions "did not result in one single actual victim. That fact must be taken into account," he said.

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 United States for its support of Israel.

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.