Nine Pakistani men awaiting trial for four months in Spain

Four months after being arrested on charges of terrorism by Spanish authorities, ten Muslim men continue to await trial. One of the arrested men, Roshan Jamal Khan, the only Indian of the group (the rest are Pakistani nationals) said in a phone interview: Ten days ago, I spoke to an Indian official. I have no idea where the case is going. I have been produced in court only once at the beginning and since then there has been no word on my case. I hope that I will be produced in court soon. But I really do not know where to go from here. Khan’s frustration echoes the others, who have yet to see any progress in their case. Defense lawyer Bernhard Salellas, a local lawyer in the legal team representing the 10 arrestees, said: We have asked the judge concerned for a date for a court hearing in their case. However, no date has been set by the judge.

Judge allows Muslim woman’s life story book

A book by a 30 year old Muslim woman named Karima may be told and sold according to a decision by a judge in Verviers. The parents and sisters of the women took legal action to prevent the book from being sold, afraid that it would infringe on their privacy. In the book, Karima tells of how she turned away from her family, alleging beatings from them, humiliation, and a forced marriage in the name of religion. The judge’s ruling was based on the right for Karima to tell a life story, and there was no justification for deleting passages that her family wanted to delete, citing the importance of freedom of expression.

Judge says Al Qaeda suspects unfit for trial

Spain has dropped the extradition of two British residents formerly held as terrorist suspects in Guantanamo Bay. High Court judge Baltasar Garzon shelved the case of two inmates in after medical reports from British authorities declared them to be unfit to stand trial after suffering years of abuse and torture, according to their lawyers. The pair, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes, were accused of belonging to a Spanish cell of al Qaeda, but their lawyers say that el-Banna had never been to Spain and Deghayes had suffered a case of mistaken identity.

Spain court convicts 20 radicals of terrorism charges

A judge in Madrid’s National Court acquitted 20 Islamic terror suspects of the most serious charges in an alleged plot, but convicted them of lesser offences. The court found 18 of 20 suspects guilty of belonging to a terrorist organization, and convicted two others of collaborating in the alleged plot to blow up a court, revealed in late 2004. The three-judge panel said prosecutors failed to provide evidence that the suspects plotted to destroy the court with a suicide bombing, and were thus acquitted of these larger charges. The court however, sentenced the 20 persons to a total of 173 years in prison for having collaborative ties to terrorist organizations, including the al-Qaeda linked _Martyrs for Morocco.’ The National Court is Spain’s primary court for reviewing terrorism cases.

Judge Orders Louis Farrakhan to Appear

HAMMOND, Ind. — A federal judge has ordered Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan to appear in court to explain why payments to his son are not considered income. A Gary couple are seeking to collect $350,000 from Farrakhan’s 48-year-old son, who lost a lawsuit after crashing his father’s Hummer into their car in 2003 and leaving the scene. Nasir Farrakhan has yet to pay any of the punitive damages awarded to Charles and Gladys Peterson, though they received $464,000 for their medical expenses from his insurance company.

21 guilty, seven cleared over Madrid train bombings

After a grueling and emotional five month trial, a Spanish judge found 21 people guilty of the March 11th, 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 19` people, and injured 1,841 others. The verdict of the 11-M suspects, as the attacks re known in Spain, evoked mixed emotions – justice and relief for some, and dissatisfaction from several survivors and family members of the victims. The chief judge of the anti-terrorist court, Javier Gomez Bermudez, handed the heaviest sentences to two Moroccans – Jamal Zougam, and Othman el-Gnaoui, and a Spaniard – Jose Emolio Suarez Trashorras. Each of the three men received a severe approzimately 40,000 year sentence, although under Spanish law, the maximum they can spend is 40 years behind bars. Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, one of the alleged ringleaders of the attacks, was acquitted on all charges. A total of 28 defendance were on trial for the 11-M attacks – 19 of which are mostly North African Arabs living in Spain, and 9 Spaniards charged with providing the explosives used in the bombings. After the sentencing of Zougam, el-Gnaoui, and Trashorras, the remaining 18 received sentences between 3-18 years, for crimes ranging from using and providing explosives, to having membership in a terrorist group. The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden.

Patriot Act Faulted in Denial of Visa for Muslim Scholar

A lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge yesterday to declare unconstitutional a part of the Patriot Act that he says allowed a prominent Muslim scholar to be denied a visa. The lawyer, Jameel Jaffer, told Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan that the provision, allowing the federal government to deny visas to people who ”endorse or espouse terrorist activity,” was a primary reason that the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, was denied a work visa to enter the United States in 2004…

Scottish student convicted on terror charges

A 21-year-old student was convicted today of possessing CDs and computer material linked to Islamist terrorism, along with threatening to become a suicide bomber and other offences. He faces a potential jail sentence of up to 15 years, the trial judge has warned. Following the verdict, police said Mohammed Atif Siddique, from Alva, Clackmannanshire near Stirling in central Scotland, had been found guilty of “serious terrorism offences” that posed a genuine threat. Siddique’s lawyer said he would appeal, arguing the student’s actions amounted to nothing worse than “what millions of young people do every day – looking for answers on the internet”.

In Oakland, a Black Pillar Dissolves in Unrest

OAKLAND, Aug. 10 – A federal judge’s order to liquidate the assets of Your Black Muslim Bakery will shutter one of this city’s black nationalist institutions, a step called long overdue by many members of the clergy and community activists. They had veered far, far away from the basic tenets of the Muslim faith, said Amos C. Brown, senior pastor at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. They had become agents and perpetrators of terror and vigilantism. The bankruptcy ruling late Thursday to pay off some $900,000 in debt and back taxes came a week after the killing of a local journalist, Chauncey W. Bailey Jr., a case in which a handyman employed by the bakery is a prime suspect. Mr. Bailey, who had been investigating the bakery’s finances for a newspaper story, was shot at close range in daylight in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2.

Muslim veils ‘should be allowed in court’

The wearing of the Muslim veil in court was backed by new official guidelines today. Senior judges who examined whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear the full facial covering, known as the niqab, said it should be decided on a case-by-case basis. Muslim women should be permitted to wear the garment providing it did not interfere with the administration of justice, the Judicial Studies Board’s Equal Treatment Advisory Committee said. The guidance follows a case at an immigration court in Stoke-on-Trent last November where the judge, George Glossop, ordered an adjournment because he was having difficulty hearing legal executive Shabnam Mughal. The guidelines said: Each situation should be considered individually in order to find the best solution in each case. Forcing a woman to choose between participating in a court case or removing the veil could have a significant impact on that woman’s sense of dignity, it added, and could serve to exclude and marginalise her. Committee chairwoman Mrs Justice Cox said: At the heart of our guidance is the principle that each situation should be considered individually in order to find the best solution in each case. We respect the right for Muslim women to choose to wear the niqab as part of their religious beliefs, although the interests of justice remain paramount. If a person’s face is almost fully covered, a judge may have to consider if any steps are required to ensure effective participation and a fair hearing – both for the woman wearing a niqab and for other parties in the proceedings. This is not an issue that lends itself to a prescriptive approach – we have drawn on a wealth of cases that demonstrate that, and we have drawn up guidance for different court personnel and parties. If the wearer is appearing as a victim, it should not be automatically assumed that the niqab would create a problem, the guidelines said. Nor should it ever be assumed without good reason that it is inappropriate for a woman to give evidence in court wearing the full veil, it added. If a judge felt it necessary to ask a victim to remove her veil, he or she should consider the request carefully, and be thoughtful and sensitive. The courtroom could even be cleared of anyone not directly involved in the case for her to proceed with her evidence, it said. Asking a witness or defendant to remove the garment may be appropriate but careful thought should be given to any such request, the guidelines said. Regarding a Muslim woman appearing as a barrister, solicitor or other advocate, judges should assume they are entitled to wear the veil, it went on. There are few instances where an advocate or representative appearing in a niqab would be likely to present any real issue, it said. Just as in any case where a judge might have difficulty in hearing any party, witness or advocate, sensitively inquiring whether they can speak any louder or providing other means of amplification should suffice and such measures should be considered with the advocate before asking her to remove her veil. Regarding jurors in niqabs, a judge may wish to consider excusing her if a challenge is made by one of the parties, it said, providing there is a genuine basis for the objection. The guidelines come after widespread concern over the wearing of the niqab in schools – by both children and staff – as well as in other areas. In February, a 12-year-old Muslim girl who wanted to wear a full-face veil in class lost her legal battle when a High Court judge dismissed a challenge to her school’s uniform policy. Mr Justice Silber rejected her claim that the school in Buckinghamshire had interfered with her right to freedom of religion under the Human Rights Convention.