French comedian to go on trial for supporting terrorism

French comedian Dieudonné Mbala to stand trial for allegedly condoning terrorism via Facebook. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)
French comedian Dieudonné Mbala to stand trial for allegedly condoning terrorism via Facebook. (Photo: The Telegraph UK)

French comedian Dieudonné Mbala has been charged with condoning terrorism following a Facebook comment in which he expressed support for Ahmedy Coulibaly, the gunman who took hostages at a kosher supermarket and killed five people.

While in court Dieudonné stated: “of course I condemn the attacks without any restrain and without any ambiguity.”

He angered French officials after posting a statement online which read: “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly,” after thousands marched in Paris under the slogan “Je suis Charlie” in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo. Dieudonné was arrested January 14.

Following Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve’s request that authorities investigate the comedian’s remarks, Dieudonné responded that he was being “treated as a public enemy when all he wanted to do was make a joke.”

Many see his arrest as a violation of free speech and an example of the government’s double standard.

Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland said “The case has raised new questions about French values of freedom, equality and fraternity.” Dieudonné could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. In addition to the recent allegations he already faces already other charges after being convicted for inciting anti-Semitism.

“He is currently involved in several trials here, on charges ranging from slander, to incitement of racial hatred, to condoning terrorism. In all cases, he denies the charges,” an Al Jazeera correspondent said.

Support of any kind for a group on the State Department’s list is now grounds for a trial on charges of terrorism

A four-month hunger strike, mass force-feedings, and widespread media coverage have at last brought Guantanamo, the notorious offshore prison set up by the Bush administration early in 2002, back into American consciousness. Prominent voices are finally calling on President Obama to close it down and send home scores of prisoners who, years ago, were cleared of wrongdoing.

Still unnoticed and out of the news, however, is a comparable situation in the U.S. itself, involving a pattern of controversial terrorism trials that result in devastating prison sentences involving the harshest forms of solitary confinement.  This growing body of prisoners is made up of Muslim men, including some formerly well-known and respected American citizens.

In the U.S. these days, the very word “terror,” no less the charge of material support for it, invariably shuts down rather than opens any conversation.  Nonetheless, a decade of researching a number of serious alleged terrorism cases on both side of the Atlantic, working alongside some extraordinary human rights lawyers, and listening to Muslim women in Great Britain and the U.S. whose lives were transformed by the imprisonment of a husband, father, or brother has given me a different perspective on such cases.

Perhaps most illuminating in them is the repeated use of what’s called “special administrative measures” to create a particularly isolating and punitive atmosphere for many of those charged with such crimes, those convicted of them, and even for their relatives.  While these efforts have come fully into their own in the post-9/11 era, they were drawn from a pre-9/11 paradigm.  Between the material support statute and those special administrative measures, it has become possible for the government to pre-convict and in many cases pre-punish a small set of Muslim men.

Mosque in a High Security Court for Mafia Killings? Ok Imam

April 21, 2013

Florence – A Mosque in a high security court created for terrorism trials, which was used for the specific trials of the Monster of Florence, Pietro Pacciani who along with 3 other killed almost 16 people and Giovanni Brusca who was responsible for killing a famed judge in 1993 for the judge’s harsh stance on the mafia during the clean hands movement. The Islamic movement in Florence is prepared to acquire the property, according to Imam Izzedin Elzir. This is the same complex that heard from the famous defendants Pacciani and Brusca.

White British Muslim convert plotted terror attack

The big story on most front pages this day was the fact that a white British Muslim convert pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism. He was the subject of a 2011 documentary made by his stepbrother and was said to have developed extremist views after he joined the Muslims Against Crusades group. He was arrested with two others before the London Olympics. The three men have all faced trials and will be sentenced sometime in April.

Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall on royal visit to Saudi Arabia

The Prince and Duchess were in Saudi Arabia as part of their Middle East Tour. Camilla met 30 women recently made MP’s by King Abdullah, stating “they were ‘blazing such a trail’ for women’s rights”. With one reportedly responding “You coming here is an endorsement of what is happening”. The visit will also bring up Saudi Arabia’s human rights record which is seen as a priority for the royal visitors. The execution of seven prisoners convicted of armed robbery last week and their claims of torture, trials without representation the most recent to occur. Both will attend separate segregated banquets. “The Duchess attending a women-only banquet thrown in her honour by HRH Princess Hessa Bint Trad Al Shaalan, the King’s second – and favourite – wife of four, who acts as his official consort.” With Prince Charles attending a similar all male function thrown in his honour by the King of Saudi Arabia.

 

The public perception about the Muslims in Spain has improved

19 September 2012

 

Spanish society has shown in the past year an increased public acceptance of Muslims and Islam, but still sees “a significant percentage” of rejection revelead against manifestations of Islam such as mosques and the hijab, as revealed by the Annual Andalusian Observatory Report of 2011, which coincides with the celebration of the 1,300 years of the official arrival of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula.

Among the “irrational stereotypes” that, according to the report, are still seen in Spanish society, is the belief that Muslim women who cover their hair are forced by Muslim men, that all Muslim men are “despots” who have “subjugated” their wives; that those who profess Islam are required by the Quran to “perpetuate inequality and violence” or that Islam imposes requirements and prohibitions like “capital punishment without fair trials.” Given this, the report makes clear that Muslims represent a quarter of the humanity and therefore these beliefs “can not be true”.
This, as specified, creates “an opinion that is generally Islamophobic”.

Rep. King Finds a New Target

THE FURY surrounding New York Representative Peter King’s March hearing on the radicalization of Muslim-American communities was an embarrassment for the House and its Homeland Security Committee. Not a single meaningful recommendation came from the politically charged investigation. The only memorable moment was when Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, broke down as he spoke of a falsely accused Muslim New York City paramedic who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Today, King will hold a second hearing that will look at the radicalization of Muslims in US prisons. It lacks the drama and emotion of the first. Indeed, the silence surrounding it is deafening. Likely, after the death of Osama bin Laden, it is more difficult for King to whip up fears that the Obama administration is going soft on terrorism.

But, as with King’s first hearing, there is a germ of truth in his concerns, if not his intensive focus on Muslim-Americans. Radicalization is clearly a growing problem in prisons. A 2008 study by the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice showed a link between prison gangs, radicalization, and violence. Many corrections officers are now trained to identify prisoners who adopt extreme views.

In a statement released after King’s hearing, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:

“Reasonable people must question why no official with the Federal Bureau of Prisons testified today at Representative King’s agenda-driven hearing. This omission is yet another reason interest in King’s show trials of the American Muslim community diminished significantly after his first hearing.

“The one witness who has conducted extensive academic research on the issue was Professor Bert Useem of Purdue University, whose research was funded by institutions affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. In his written testimony, Useem concluded, ‘My core argument, then, is that U.S. prisons are not systematically generating a terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland.’

Radical “Tottenham Ayatollah” sentenced to death in Lebanon

12 November 2010

Omar Bakri Mohammed, known as the “Tottenham Ayatollah”, was on the run after a court in Beirut found him guilty of funding al-Qaeda and starting a militant group to weaken the Lebanese government.
Bakri, who now lives in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, was one of 54 people convicted in the latest of a series of trials against suspected militants who fought clashes with the Lebanese army in 2007.
The Syrian-born preacher became an irritant to the British government after he hailed the September 11, 2001 terrorists as the “magnificent 19” and told the British public it was responsible for the attacks on tube stations in London four years later.

Remaining six of “Toronto 18” face trials in 2010

The case of Canada’s notorious homegrown terror plot enters a significant phase in 2010 with the trials upcoming for the final six alleged members, accused of attending a training camp and plotting to bomb various targets. The Crown has alleged some of the men held a terrorism training camp north of Toronto and that others were involved in the bomb plot.

One of the remaining men is expected to have his trial by judge in January, while the other five men’s case is expected to be put in front of a jury starting in March.

The guilty pleas and the outcome of the first man’s trial will have absolutely no bearing on the last five men’s case, said lawyer William Naylor, who represents the man who will stand trial in January. The fact that those five men have elected trial by jury is breaking new ground. This is the first time an Anti-Terrorism Act case will be tried by a jury. All of the six men awaiting trial have been in custody since their arrests in June 2006, except for one, who was granted bail in August.

Key questions for 9/11 civilian court trials

In his effort to adhere to Consitutional values, not sacrifice democratic ideals for security, and better defeat an unconventional enemy, President Obama decided to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo Bay detainees for their actions as criminals in a NYC civilian trial. This move is a departure from former President Bush’s desires to try them in military court.

This article discusses 7 key issues the trial faces in living up to Obama’s ideals.