American prosecutors end high-profile terrorism case against California man

One of the crucial United States’ absolute best profile post-Nine/11 terrorism instances totally unraveled Friday, with federal prosecutors pronouncing they received’t pursue fees after a pass judgement on final yr overturned the conviction of a person who were related to a purported al-Qaida sleeper cellular in California and spent 14 years in jail.

Hamid Hayat, a cherry picker from the neighborhood of Lodi within the Central Valley agricultural heartland, was once freed in August after finishing greater than part his sentence on fees of offering subject material improve to terrorists and mendacity to FBI brokers.

A federal pass judgement on in July overturned his 2006 conviction on fees of plotting an assault in america after attending a terrorist coaching camp in Pakistan. The pass judgement on dominated that Hayat, who proclaimed his innocence, hadn’t won a correct defence at trial.


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Hayat’s circle of relatives and new felony group, led through the regulation company of Riordan & Horgan, mentioned in a remark that the case is “a stark instance of the way, within the submit Nine/11 generation, the federal government’s effort to offer protection to the general public from terrorism may and did on this case pass extraordinarily incorrect.”

Prosecutors will have appealed the pass judgement on’s determination or sought a brand new trial, however as a substitute filed a temporary movement to push aside the case Friday.

“Now we have decided that the passage of time and the pursuits of justice recommend in opposition to resurrecting this 15 yr previous case,” they mentioned in a remark.






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Prosecutors famous that his conviction was once overturned “based totally only at the effectiveness of the attorney of his personal opting for.” The U.S. Lawyer’s Place of work in Sacramento, at the side of the U.S. Division of Justice’s Nationwide Safety Department, reviewed the case and the proof that may be to be had all over a brand new trial earlier than opting to not continue, prosecutors mentioned.

Hayat mentioned he didn’t to start with imagine it when legal professional Dennis Riordan advised him the case is over. “In truth, it was once like a dream,” he mentioned in a temporary remark thanking his circle of relatives, felony group and different supporters “for status through me each step of the way in which.”



Riordan mentioned Hayat would no longer in an instant remark past the remark.

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“Whilst we’re thankful for the dismissal, the 14 years Hamid spent in the back of bars on fees of which he was once blameless stay a grave miscarriage of justice,” his circle of relatives and attorneys mentioned of their remark. “Hamid’s exoneration is a reason for birthday celebration, however the tale of his case is tragedy that should no longer be repeated.”

They famous that each the federal pass judgement on and a federal Justice of the Peace discovered that more than one witnesses credibly testified, years after his conviction, that Hamid may no longer have dedicated the crimes.

Each judges determined “that Hamid shouldn’t have been discovered responsible had the tough proof of his innocence that received his freedom in 2019 been offered to his jury in 2006,” the legal professionals and circle of relatives mentioned of their remark.

Investigators to start with alleged that 5 males have been a part of an al-Qaida “sleeper cellular” in Lodi.






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However handiest Hayat, who was once born in California, was once convicted of terror-related crimes, whilst 3 different suspects have been ultimately deported with out fees. Hayat’s father, an ice cream truck driving force, admitted to a customs violation after a jury was once not able to succeed in a call on whether or not he lied to federal brokers about his son’s actions.

U.S. District Pass judgement on Garland E. Burrell Jr. discovered that green defence legal professional Wazhma Mojaddidi failed to search out the ones alibi witnesses, who would have testified that Hayat by no means had time to obtain terror coaching whilst visiting family members and getting married in his ancestral village in Pakistan.

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They mentioned that the longest Hayat was once absent from his circle of relatives’s ancestral village of Behboodi whilst visiting Pakistan with members of the family between 2003 and 2005 was once one week. That at once shriveled his purported confession to attending a coaching camp for 3 to 6 months.


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His defence legal professional additionally must have supplied a witness to testify that what prosecutors mentioned was once an incriminating observe present in Hayat’s pockets was once in reality a non secular supplication frequently utilized by many Muslims, he dominated.

Invoice Portanova, a defence legal professional and previous prosecutor no longer affiliated with the case, famous that prosecutors had proof together with different witness testimony and Hayat’s self-incriminating statements.

“The case was once legitimately introduced,” he mentioned. “It’s no longer like there was once an entire absence of evidence.”






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“This one was once very excessive profile, so the dismissal years later draws a large number of consideration, but it surely doesn’t mirror poorly at the govt,“ Portanova mentioned.

He disagreed with Basim Elkarra, government director of the Sacramento Valley place of work of the Council on American-Islamic Family members, who in a remark referred to as the conviction an “egregious injustice.”

“A complete neighborhood was once left traumatized because of prosecution making the most of anti-Muslim, post-Nine/11 hysteria,” Elkarra mentioned.

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© 2020 The Canadian Press



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