- Hon. Thomas J. McAvoyU.S. District Court Judge, Northern District of New York
A Victim of Mistaken Identity
Yassin Aref, a Kurdish imam, was entrapped by a criminal con artist hired by the FBI. Despite no evidence that Yassin supported any terrorist activity, the post-9/11 climate made the jury afraid to acquit him or his co-defendant, Mohammed Hossain. (For more information on Yassin and his case, see this article in New York Magazine, 'Little Gitmo.' )
Through a recent FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request, Yassin's defense attorneys learned about secret evidence that misidentified Yassin as an Al-Qaeda agent. This evidence, which led to his conviction, was apparently shown to the trial judge and appeal court, but not to the defense.
The government convicted the wrong man. Yassin is not a terrorist.
Now the defense has prepared a motion to reopen the case based on this dramatic new evidence of mistaken identity. We are asking you to sign a petition to the judge who will, we hope, consider this motion. The petition requests that the judge give serious consideration to Yassin's motion to reopen the case.
To publicize the importance of this motion, and to emphasize to the judge that Albany has not forgotten this case, Lynne Jackson, accompanied by other supporters, will walk 133 miles from Yassin's home city of Albany, New York to hand-deliver the petition to the judge, who is located in Binghamton, New York.
The "Journey for Justice" sponsored by Project SALAM (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims, www.projectsalam.org) will start at 6:00 PM on Friday, July 12, 2013 at the Masjid As-Salam in Albany, New York and end on Tuesday, July 23 at 11:00 AM at the Federal Court House, 15 Henry Street, Binghamton, New York.
Please sign our petition to the judge, asking him to seriously consider reopening Yassin's case.
The photo above, of Yassin and his 6-year-old daughter, was taken during a rare prison visit.
- U.S. District Court Judge, Northern District of New York
Hon. Thomas J. McAvoy
Dear Judge McAvoy:
We the undersigned hereby petition you to give serious consideration to a 2255 motion being made to you by Yassin Aref that requests a new trial or dismissal of the terrorism-related charges against him.
Aref was convicted in 2006 and sentenced to fifteen years in 2007 in a case where the outcome was largely determined by secret evidence. Now Aref has evidence that the U.S. government targeted the wrong person, confusing him with an Al Qaeda agent who is now dead, and that this false identification was secretly given to the court to ensure Aref’s conviction.
We ask for serious consideration of Yassin Aref’s assertion that the government targeted and convicted an innocent man.
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