I got this as en email from Sabri Ben Kahla a longtime friend of mine. Sabri was born in Bethesda, Maryland. Lived in Falls Church, VA all his life, went to catholic elementry school and J.E.B. Stuart highschool rated the most ethnically diverse school in the country.
He graduated with honors from GMU at the age of 21. Studied abroad all over the mid east. Got a scholarship to University of medina. He was working on his masters at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International relations
Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem
Dear Brothers And Sisters: As-Salem Aleikum wa rahmtu Allah
I pray this letter finds you all in good health and high imaan. I haven’t spoken to many of you for a while. But if you are receiving this email, we have met somewhere along this journey of life. Whether it be from GMU, or studies abroad in Syria or Egypt, or the University of Medina, or JHU or Hajj or a masjid, or a conference, or some type of activity; I have met you. I pray that you remember me. To give you an update on recent events of my life: In June of 2003, shortly before I was to graduate from the University of Medina with a degree in Islamic law, I was arrested in Saudi Arabia. I was held in a small concrete cell without charge or explanation and no human contact other than periodic interrogations for a month. At the end of the month I found out this was done at behest of the F.B.I. I was taken by the F.B.I. on the tarmac of an airport, forced to strip, photographed in the nude, I was blindfolded and shackled in a very uncomfortable position within a sealed pod for approximately 17 hours. I was denied my right to a lawyer and threatened with transport to Guantanamo. I felt sad and betrayed, never having been arrested in my life and never hurting anyone, I was being treated worse than a murderer. Judge Brinkema stated:
The uncontested evidence again is the defendant had been held under conditions which would not be acceptable for a United States-based defendant in a criminal case…Even solitary people in the United States get one hour a day out. That’s 24 hours a day in this cell. The evidence is uncontested that the lights were on at all times and that he had not been told why he was being held. It’s a Kafkaesque situation where he was in Never-Never Land . I found credible his statement that when he realized he was being turned over to the FBI, as a U.S. citizen, he expected that he would be getting better treatment, but he was left in a significant limbo in that situation…it’s uncontested that Mr. Benkahla had been awake for over 24 hours, so he was sleep deprived. He’s obviously a well-educated and intelligent man, and I don’t doubt that he was probably somewhat articulate in how he interacted with the agent. Nevertheless, under these types of conditions, I find that both the requirements of Miranda that a clear explanation of the rights be communicated to the defendant and the defendant voluntarily and intelligently waived those rights; that did not happen in this case.
I was the final defendant in the “Virginia 11″ case. Because of lack of evidence those charges were dropped but the prosecution came up with new charges. On March 9, 2004 after 8 months of home confinement and a one day bench trial, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that I was not guilty on all counts. Instead of being allowed to get on with my life; after the acquittal, I was called for several “debriefings” with the F.B.I. I was compelled to testify before two Grand Juries. My home was raided and my elderly father had to watch in horror as his sons were put into handcuff and his privacy violated. Two years later, in February of 2006, I was indicted again in what my lawyers would argue is a case of double jeopardy; this time on charges of making false statements to the Grand Juries and obstruction of justice. In July of 2006 there was a superseding indictment charging me with making false statements to the F.B.I. (the same charge that was dismissed during the first case). In October of 2006, one week before my scheduled trial, the F.B.I. raided my father’s medical supplies business, causing my sister to be rushed to the hospital. They took boxes and boxes of our personal documents and belongings. Finally, on February 5, 2007, my trial has come to an unfavorable conclusion. I was not allowed to mention to the jury that I was acquitted, yet the prosecution brought in all the “evidence” of the previous case which has already been ruled upon to prejudice the jury. The Judge himself had to reprimand the prosecutors on several occasions. According to the guidelines I should face 1-2 years, but with the enhancements that have been used with Muslims, it could be pushed up to 15-20. We hope the judge will overrule the jury’s verdict, if not we plan to appeal. I am seeking your support. Allah says what can be translated as ” Oh you who believe! Stand our firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah…” (4:135) and the prophet Muhammed (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “None of you truly believes till he loves for his brother what he loves for himself,” and “to not take for granted any good action (m’aroof)” no matter how small it is. We are currently gathering letters of character on my behalf; also if you have any legal connections that could help with the appeals process or any other type of advice or support that would be greatly appreciated. You can write to:
The Honorable Judge James C Cacheris, Date:
U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Virginia
401 Courthouse Sq
Alexandria, Va 22314
Dear Judge Cacheris:
Who you are, your background, education, employment, city of residence, where you are from, etc…….
What this letter is about.
How you know Sabri and for how long. What is your impression of the type of person he is. What are his values and thoughts on Islam, life and America. Did he talk about his experiences overseas? Do you think of him as an honest human being? Why? You can give examples of his past actions that can substantiate your opinion.
You can end by asking the judge to reconsider the jury’s verdict or to have clemency in sentencing.
Type your name, address, and phone number if desired.
Sincerely, Sign your name.
This letter will go straight to the judge, so no one should be afraid. We shouldn’t be afraid anyway as Allah tells us not fear anyone but Him. Please don’t procrastinate, maybe you can write the letter when you finish reading this; we need the letters as soon as possible. You can write me at Sabri Ben Kahla, 6019 Fair View Place, Falls Church, VA 22041 and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions feel free to contact me. Jazakum Allah khier, I thank you all for your help and support. May Allah bless you and keep you safe.
Sabri Ben Kahla