FD Editor’s Note: This is an important article and I hope you will all read it and become interested in being active in this case. Everyone who knows Ziyad is still in a state of shock that he was accused, much less arrested. And to know that he was sentenced on these charges is unbelievable, especially to his mother Laila Yaghi who is still working tirelessly on his case. I urge you to please take the actions suggested here. Anyone who wants to find out how to help him further should contact Laila on Facebook here. If you do not have facebook, please write me at admin(at)freedetainees(dot)org and I will put you in touch with her.
Ziyad Yaghi is a 24 year old American citizen, from Jordan originally, residing in North Carolina whom has lived in the United States since the age of two. He has been accused of attempting to commit terrorism abroad by the United States government, in an indictment which appears to be based on an incorrect premise, namely that the US seek to infer that trips abroad were part of a terrorist conspiracy.
Ziyad visited Jordan in 2006, the country of his birth. Unfortunately the US Indictment appears to have misinterpreted this intention, and states instead that he was seeking armed conflict.
In 2007, the indictment alleges that he with others tried to engage in armed conflict in Israel, whereas both Ziyad and his friend Omar instead sought to visit the west bank and Masjid al-aqsa, one of Islams most famous and revered sites and one which holds particular appeal for Ziyad as he is from Palestinian heritage. The United States again seek to set a dangerous precedent in that if a Muslim wishes to visit the land of his ancestry, then this is viewed as suspect.
Now Ziyad has been convicted and is serving 31.5 years in solitary confinement on the basis of two holidays that he undertook a few years ago. The United States seem to draw conclusions and conspiracies when it is clear that this was just a young Muslim man who traveled as millions of young people do, seeking different cultures and experiences. It is discriminatory to assume that if a Muslim man engages in a trip to the Middle East that it is seditious conspiracy, yet if a non Muslim man were to do the same then it is soul-searching and adventure.
We also remind the United States of its obligations under the constitution, which state:-
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
(14th Amendment of the US Constitution, Section One)
We would also remind the United States of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article two, which states :-
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
We finally ask that the United States government cease the incarceration of this young man, and free him so that he may resume his life and be re-united with his family.
As a members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, with records of standing up for constitutional rights, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Al Franken must be made aware of and pressured to look into this case and mention it on the house floor. Please Join us!!
or write to
Senator Dick Durbin
711 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Al Franken
Saint Paul Office
60 East Plato Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55107
for more information on this case, start here: http://www.united-humanity.com/free-ziyad-yaghi.html