Civil libertarians have looked with escalating fear at the reprehensible and oppressive measures instituted by the United States government under the banner of anti terrorist activity. The victims are, with few exceptions, members of a targeted minority group. After the tragedy of 9/11, Muslims became, if you will, the new African Americans.
Examples abound, but the most recent is the conviction and sentencing of Seyed Mousavi, a Southern California Muslim community leader, respected within and without the Muslim community. Mr. Mousavi has two children attending UCLA. He has received an abundance of support which support includes law students at UCLA.
The saga of Mr. Mousavi began on June 29, 2006 when FBI agents raided at gunpoint his home, his place of business and his mosque. These pre dawn raids resulted in the handcuffing of Mr. Mousaviâ€™s family and the removal of boxes of documents and computers.
More than one year later Mr. Mousavi was arrested in his mosque despite assurances from authorities that he would be permitted to surrender himself.
In April of this year, Mr. Mousavi was convicted on three non violent charges: Filing false income tax returns; omitting group memberships when applying for citizenship, and violating the U. S. embargo against Iran. His lawyer presented no evidence in his defense.
The charges against Mr. Mousavi did not involve violence, the threat of violence or any act remotely related to terrorism. Never the less government attorneys using secret evidence and appealing to fear kept him in jail for over a year, denied bail.
At a hearing last week more than 1200 supporters were present as Mr. Mousaviâ€™s new attorneys requested a new trial. The motion was denied.
The government had asked for a prison term of 9 years. The court sentenced him to 33 months, an obvious slap at the government and a recognition of the probative value of the new exculpatory evidence.
Mr. Mousavi is the founder of Al-Nabi Mosque and School in West Covina. He has been acknowledged in the community as a tireless interfaith worker. He has served as a youth mentor.
The family has announced that his conviction will be appealed.
The government claimed that Mr. Mousavi violated the embargo against Iran when he tried to bring cellular telephone networks to Iran via a consulting contract with a Kuwaiti company. The merits of the governmentâ€™s argument aside, the penalty the U. S. attorneys asked for far exceeded punishments given to corporations for virtually identical violations.
â€œOur family has been through so much since this ordeal began. We watched as our house was raided, as the FBI handcuffed my teenage brother, and then as my Dad got taken away. My dadâ€™s such an important part of our family. Weâ€™re happy to know that the court saw how good and giving of a man my dad is, but it will be hard to be without him for another year and a half.â€ said Zeinab Mousavi, Mr. Mousaviâ€™s daughter.
For more information and updates on this case, please access: <wwww.freeseyedmousavi.com>