Thursday, January 19, 2006

Acquitted but still jailed

Sameeh Hammoudeh, 42. Born in the West Bank, he was a teaching assistant and doctoral student at the University of South Florida and a director at the Islamic Academy of Florida. SP Times photo.

This doesn't seem right. The St. Petersburg Times reports:

Although a jury acquitted Sameeh Hammoudeh of terrorism charges, immigration officials are not convinced.

They want to keep him in jail, and on Wednesday a U.S. immigration judge denied him bail.

"Hammoudeh is being held because (immigration) still believes he has ties to terrorism," said Pam McCullough, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
McCullough acknowledged Hammoudeh's acquittal but said immigration officials don't agree with the jury's unanimous decision.
On Hammoudeh's legal limbo, [attorney Bill] Moffitt said, "A man who's acquitted can't find his way out of prison? Welcome to the war against terrorism."

Apparently "innocent" doesn't mean "innocent."

The guy is a not a citizen and will eventually be deported on an unrelated tax evasion conviction. When it comes to mere residents, apparently the judgment of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service overrules all other law. Hammoudeh was acquitted of being a fundraiser for Islamic Jihad.

Guess we shouldn't surprised, since ICE is a branch of Homeland Security which is a branch of an executive branch led by a Preznit who holds that he makes up the law as he goes along. All for our wellbeing, of course.

UPDATE: On January 23, the St. Petersburg Times reports that Sameeh Hammoudeh and his family will be "removed" to Jordan this week. He muses: "Even if you are acquitted, the government is like wild wolves picking at you -- this in a country with people full of love and mercy." The entire story is worth reading, full of incidents in which U.S. authorities acted like fascist automatons and ordinary citizens of all backgrounds demonstrated their concern for legality and justice.

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