Hawash agrees to plea bargain
By the Associated Press.
Here's another article with more details.
Wow. I am quite shocked, I must say. But I would like to reiterate that the point of this protest has always been the unfairness of holding Mike for five weeks without charging him -- not whether or not he had knowingly or unknowingly taken place in whatever kind of activity he was being charged with, once he was charged.
The point is that holding people for months without charging them isn't cool, and theoretically we don't do that in this country, except that it turns out under a certain material witness statute, we do do that in this country -- and that's kinda scary. That's the point. Just to clarify...
I still get the feeling that he may have taken the deal because he felt it would be the best deal he would get at a jury trial (when it is the best idea to take a plea bargain, because things could also end up even worse at trial). But Steven McGaedy (the "FreeMikeHawash.org" guy), stopped returning my phone calls some time ago (Presumably because things got to heavy with the case.) -- so I took the hint and moved on, and don't really have any kind of inside scoop on this anymore...
Anyway there's an update on that. Okay gotta go. Lots to do today!
Here's the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:
August 6, 2003
Hawash agrees to plea bargain
PORTLAND - Maher "Mike" Hawash, one of the so-called "Portland Seven" charged with terrorism related crimes, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban, but will not face other charges in exchange for testimony against other suspects.
Hawash, a 39-year old software engineer who worked for Intel, had initially pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy to wage war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiracy to contribute services to al-Qaida and the Taliban.
In exchange for testimony, federal prosecutors agreed to drop charges of conspiring to levy war against the U.S. and conspiring to provide material support for terrorism. Hawash pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide services to the Taliban.
He will serve a minimum of seven years in federal prison under the deal, which was approved by U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Hawash agreed to testify in federal court, before grand juries and before any potential military tribunals.
Federal agents grabbed Hawash, 38, from a parking lot outside his work at Intel Corp. in February and simultaneously searched his home. He was held as a material witness, but federal officials would not confirm publicly they held him until charges were filed five weeks later, in what supporters called an abuse of civil rights.
In a 41-page affidavit released in April, the U.S. Attorney's Office accused Hawash, a naturalized U.S. citizen, of growing angry with the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, then conspiring with at least five other Muslim men to join the fight in Afghanistan against U.S. troops.
Hawash accompanied the group as it tried and failed to enter Afghanistan from western China in late fall 2001, according to court documents. The Taliban were a militant Muslim organization that controled most of Afghanistan until the American invasion in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that year.
Kent Robertson, chief of criminal prosecutions at the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland, has declined to say why his office chose to hold Hawash secretly as a material witness before seeking an indictment.
The FBI appears to have begun investigating Hawash after receiving tips from some of his neighbors, according to the affadavit.
Five of the other six suspects in the case - October Lewis, Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Lumumba Ford and brothers Ahmed and Muhammad Bilal - all have pleaded innocent to charges of conspiracy to wage war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiracy to contribute services to al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Battle, the Bilals, Ford and Habis al Saoub - who remains at large - also face firearms conspiracy charges while Lewis and Ford were charged with money laundering. Battle, Ford, al Saoub and Ahmed Bilal also face firearms possession charges.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)Posted by Lisa at August 07, 2003 07:42 AM | TrackBack