Another month, another terror prosecution. This one involves Najibullah Zazi, his father Mohammed, and an imam, Ahmad Wais Afzail. Prosecutors are alleging in characteristically vague fashion that the Zazis had plans to execute a London-style bombing of mass transit vehicles in New York and perhaps elsewhere. Two of the more notable pieces of evidence that have been recovered from the Zazis are a scale (yikes!) and bomb-making notes (double yikes!). The legal blogosphere has been abuzz about the decision of the younger Zazi to speak to the Feds which ultimately netted him several false statement charges. No surprise there. Even though his attorney, Arthur Folsom, has had minimal federal criminal defense experience, he should have known better. At the very least, he could have conducted his own investigation to see what information the Feds might have had (yes, he’d probably have a hard time doing this, you know, state secrets, FISA, all that) on Zazi before serving his client up on a platter as he did. Mr. Afzail, in contrast, is being represented by Ron Kuby, a well-known criminal defense and civil rights attorney in New York who’s clients in a quasi-partnership with William Kunstler, included Colin Ferguson (LIRR shooter), Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, and other unsavory characters.
TalkLeft has great coverage of the Zazi matter. It’s author is a criminal defense lawyer based in Denver, where the Zazi’s are currently being held and will eventually be prosecuted.
Posted in Civil Rights, Criminal Law, Social Justice, U.S. News, Uncategorized
Tagged Ahmad Wais Afzail, Arthur Folsom, Mohammed Zazi, Najibullah Zazi, Ron Kuby, TalkLeft, Terrorism
Sketch of Ehsanul Islam Sadequee at Trial courtesy of the AJC
2-for-2. Congratulations to the law and order types in Atlanta who have thus far had a perfect record in prosecuting and convicting suspected terrorists. Their first trophy was Syed Riaz Ahmed who was convicted this past June of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Now comes the latest guilty verdict, this one directed at Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a former friend of Ahmed and now a fellow inmate in the federal penitentiary system for the foreseeable future.
While i I was a clerk in the federal court in Brooklyn, NY, the government tried to and did convict another suspected terrorist, Shahawar Matin Siraj, who, according to the allegations, wanted to blow up the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan. This case, like many others involving terrorism charges, centered around a government informant who, for all intents and purposes, egged the defendant on and toward more fanciful terroristic conspiracies. I will never forget what the defense attorney, Martin Stolar, said to the press after the guilty verdict was handed down, making clear that the police, in securing the conviction of the defendant through the use of an informant, did nothing to make the city safer.
I feel no different with the latest string of guilty verdicts here in Atlanta. True, the government did not use an informant to secure these verdicts. But, as Don Samuel, the attorney turned legal advisor to Sadequee said, “The more you see these guys [referring to Sadequee and his cohorts], the more you say, ‘You got to be kidding me. These are just kids.”
Last week, the radio show, This American Life, featured a story on another terrorism related case involving an informant and a hapless defendant which took place in New Jersey. It’s worth listening to.