May 8, 2006
A jury has found Hamid Hayat, a 23-year-old resident of Lodi, California, guilty of “providing material support to terrorists.” In his sentencing, scheduled for July, Hayat will get at least 30 years in prison.
Government officials declared the verdict a victory against terrorism. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issued a statement, saying: “... Justice has been served against a man who supported and trained with our terrorist enemies in pursuit of his goal of violent jihad.”
But did Hayat really do that? In fact, the prosecution produced not one shred of direct evidence to support the only accusation against Hayat – that he attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan. Nor did it even try to show that he was preparing terrorist acts after his return to the U.S. It couldn’t.
The only thing the prosecution had was a videotaped confession by Hayat. When Hayat finally agreed he had been in a camp in Pakistan, he had been held for days incommunicado, harassed. His so-called “confession” was nothing but a repeat of the very words used by the FBI agents themselves. Anyone who has watched enough cop shows on TV knows what this kind of “confession” is worth as legal evidence!
The government had little concern for legality or fairness in this case. The proof is the way Hayat was indicted in the first place.
Hayat, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen, was accused by Naseem Khan, a man who volunteered to give “evidence” to the FBI – for a price! Khan befriended Hayat, who is about 10 years younger. In his taped conversations with Hayat, Khan is the only one who talks about “training.” Once Khan even swears at Hayat and tells him to “be a man” and go to a camp!
In May 2005, on his way back from Pakistan, Hayat was interrogated in Japan by the FBI and cleared for entry to the U.S. But the FBI visited Hayat a month later in Lodi, where he had gotten a job packing fruit. When he and his father Umer showed up for an interview in Sacramento, the FBI put them under lock and key until it got these so-called “confessions.”
The father’s trial has ended in a hung jury. And since the verdict against his son, at least one juror has already come forward saying that she was pressured by other jurors to vote guilty even though she felt Hayat was not guilty.
In any other time period, this kind of case would not even have gone to trial. But in the aftermath of 9/11, every prosecutor eager to make a career move looks for a Middle-Eastern man he can point at, crying “terrorist.”
This is what the campaign against so-called “terrorism” has produced – false arrest, false imprisonment, under an atmosphere of hysteria.
Stop the victimization of the Hayat family and others like them!