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Man Charged In Plot


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The AP reports that Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, who had been detained in Saudi Arabia as a suspected terrorist was charged today with both supporting Al Qaeda, and conspiring to assassinate President Bush:


Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen, made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court but did not enter a plea. He claimed that he was tortured while detained in Saudi Arabia since June of 2003 and offered through his lawyer to show the judge his scars.

The federal indictment said that in 2002 and 2003 Abu Ali and an unidentified co-conspirator discussed plans for Abu Ali to assassinate Bush. They discussed two scenarios, the indictment said, one in which Abu Ali "would get close enough to the president to shoot him on the street" and, alternatively, "an operation in which Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb."


According to the indictment, Abu Ali obtained a religious blessing from another unidentified co-conspirator to assassinate the president.



To make this even more sickening, more than 100 supporters of Abu Ali were in the courtroom and, as the AP reports, "laughed when the charge was read aloud alleging that he conspired to assassinate Bush."


They should all go to prison.

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  • 1 month later...

Twenty-three-year-old, Houston-born American citizen Ahmed Omar Abu Ali has been returned to Virginia after twenty months in solitary confinement in a Saudi Arabian prison. But he returned only to face arraignment, on February 22, in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.


The charge is that he conspired to commit terrorism- and, indeed, the FBI says that he admitted as much in the course of interrogations in Saudi prison. He is alleged to have plotted to assassinate President Bush - but is not charged with that conspiracy.


The case is far from as open-and-shut as the FBI might suggest. Indeed, a number of aspects of the prosecution are deeply troubling.

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Guest Augustine Havlicek

Elaine, I read your column



The Government Argues Abu Ali Ought to Be "Presumed Dangerous"


Abu Ali was arraigned, as noted above, on February 22. On February 24, a hearing on whether he would be released prior to trial was to occur. But the government managed to delay that hearing. It did so by arguing that the usual standard for pre-trial release should not apply.


Typically, in a criminal case, to block a defendant's release on bail, the government must prove the defendant's dangerousness or his likelihood of fleeing. But here, the government took the position that the defendant, Abu Ali, had the burden of proving to the court that he would not be a danger to national security, before being released on bail. It did so based on 2004 federal legislation stating that people charged with terrorism-related crimes were presumed to be too dangerous to be released unless they proved otherwise.


I think it is quite insightful. I value all my gifted rights as a native born American Citizen. The eighth amendment has been put in the Constitution for a reason.










  Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor

cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


                             EXCESSIVE BAIL


        ``This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits

the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the

infliction of punishment prior to conviction. . . . Unless this right to

bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured

only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning.''\1\ ``The

bail clause was lifted with slight changes from the English Bill of

Rights Act. In England that clause has never been thought to accord a

right to bail in all cases, but merely to provide that bail shall not be

excessive in those cases where it is proper to grant bail. When this

clause was carried over into our Bill of Rights, nothing was said that

indicated any different concept.''\2\ These two contrasting views of the

``excessive bail'' provision, uttered by the Court in the same Term,

reflect the ambiguity inherent in the phrase and the absence of evidence

regarding the intent of those who drafted and who ratified the Eighth



It will interesting how the courts will interpret this amendment.

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I would think that they could easily shown that he was a flight threat and not use a rational that might possibly be in question.


Additionally, I believe terrorism penalties can carry a maximum penatly of death, that is normally a justification for no bail


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