Fear & Servitude

The Washington Post has an excellent front page story on the boarhawging of Mohammed Yousry, the court-appointed translator for lawyer Lynne Stewart. Federal prosecutors spent three years wiretapping his phone and reading all the files on his computer, thanks to a FISA warrant. Even a federal prosecutor conceded: “Yousry is not a practicing Muslim. He is not a fundamentalist. Mohammed Yousry is not someone who supports or believes in the use of violence.”

But the feds got a jury to convict Yousry of supporting terrorism merely because of his work translating in the case of Muslim cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. The Post noted, “The trial transcripts reveal that prosecutors advanced no evidence to back up certain claims, including the assertion that Yousry was in touch with Middle Eastern terrorists.” The feds pressured Yousry to testify against Stewart and Rahman’s previous lawyer, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Yousry refused to participate in what he considered an attempt to “entrap” the lawyers. Yousry was tried, along with Stewart and Ahmed Sattar, in federal court five blocks from Ground Zero. Prosecutors hyped Osama Bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks, “even though the case had nothing to do with that group,” the Post noted.But fearmongering paid off for the feds. One of the jurors contacted federal judge John Koeltl a month after the trial and revealed that the jury had made a mockery of fair play. The juror told the Washington Post that the other jurors “had an agenda.” She complained of the juror-cowards who convicted Yousry: “People are so fearful that if you disagree with the government on one thing it makes you a terrorist.” She admitted her own culpability in agreeing with the other jurors: “I have to plead guilty to being a coward… I punked out.”

Yousry could receive 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in March. His prison sentence will be another in a long series of victories by federal prosecutors over decency and fair play.




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One Response to Fear & Servitude

  1. Brian Wilson January 17, 2006 at 7:22 am #

    More troubling than the Post account is how pervasive the jury’s mind set is throughout the general public. Another reason the book is so compelling: revealing the aggressive ignorance of the American citizen as primary symptom of ADD.