From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Fri Jun 17 2005
Arrests in Lodi Raise Fears of Profiling and Entrapment
Arrests in Lodi and on the East Coast
6/20: Media lynching of a Lodi family
On June 16th, a federal grand jury indicted Umer Hayat, a Lodi ice cream truck driver, and his son Hamid on charges they lied to FBI agents. The two men were arrested on June 5th and accused of lying during interrogation about a trip Hamid took to Pakistan. While the FBI leaked accusations of involvement in "terrorist" activity to the press, the Hayats are only charged with lying during interrogation and it's likely that the trip to Pakistan broke no laws. Attorneys say they will challenge the government over the press leaks, which they see as a deliberate move by the FBI to prejudice the case against their clients. Even if the Hamids committed no crimes before the FBI interrogation, each charge of lying could result in 8 years in a federal prison, which shows the danger of ever talking to the FBI.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has eight verified incidents of civil rights violations by the FBI against Muslims in Lodi, including threats of deportation, humiliating two people in front of co-workers, threatening to charge people with jaywalking if they didn't cooperate, and not allowing attorneys to be present during questioning. Civil rights groups are filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking FBI records of the procedures and policies used during the questioning and detention of dozens of Muslims in the Central Valley town of Lodi. In addition to arresting the Hayats, the FBI also arrested several leaders of local mosques. Two of those arrested, Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed were known for organizing interfaith events to help spread religious tolerance. The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations hosted a series of “Know Your Rights” workshops in Lodi and Stockton prompted by reports of harassment of Muslims by FBI agents.

The arrests in Lodi come just weeks after a similar set of arrests on the East Coast. Tarik Shah and Rafiq Sabir were arrested on May 28th. Rafiq Sabir, a doctor, was charged with conspiring "to treat wounded jihadists in Saudi Arabia". Tarik Shah, a well-known New York City jazz musician, was charged with conspiring to teach militants martial arts. Prosecutors said Shah and Sabir were caught expressing their "eagerness to help terrorists" in secretly taped conversations with an undercover FBI agent posing as an "al-Qaida recruiter".
Both the Lodi and E Coast arrests come as Bush is struggling for the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act.

FOIA Request Filed Over Lodi Harassment | Oh ! Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again | Friends describe terror suspect as well-known New York musician
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