Saturday, September 25, 2021

Omar Ameen is being targeted by the US government

In the US, we're all supposed to be entitled to a day in court and that day is supposed to be a fair day where everyone plays by the rules and where the government is accountable.  In reality, when the government can't win, it tries to get away with lying, with withholding evidence and with replacing justices to get the ruling that they want.  It's outrageous and shame on anyone turning to look the other way right now.

Omar Ameen is an Iraqi refugee.  He came to the US in November of 2014.  From Salt Lake City, he moves to California -- specifically to Sacramento.  In mid-2018, an Iraqi 'court' issues an arrest warrant for him.  Based on a paid informant, he is accused of having killed a police officer, Ihsan Jasi who was shot June 22, 2014 and died of gunshot wounds a day later.  The unnamed, paid informant told police he didn't see the shooting but knew Omar was the shooting.  Then, much later, changed his testimony to include he saw it.  August 15, 2019, Omar is arrested in Sacramento.  His attorney, Rachelle Barbour, declares, "As the extradition packet makes clear, the Iraqi charge is based on the statement of a single purported eyewitness to the alleged murder. That witness's statement, given in April 2018 to the Iraqi court, is both internally inconsistent and extensively contradicted by that witness's earlier statement taken in October 2017 by the FBI." In addition, Omar moved to Turkey in 2012 and various  data -- including pings from cell phone towers -- demonstrate he was in Turkey the day of the shooting in Iraq. 

In the face of this and other problems with the case (the US government claims multiple witnesses to the shooting but can't produce them),  US federal judge Edmund Brennan finds the cell phone evidence "critical" and declares the US government should release Omar immediately.      April 24th, Sam Stanton (SACREMENTO BEE) reports:

In a major blow to federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Sacramento ruled Wednesday that Omar Ameen may not be extradited back to Iraq to face trial in the 2014 murder of an Iraqi police officer.

The decision came in a 30-page order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan, who labeled parts of the government’s arguments “dubious” and said they call for “some degree of skepticism.”

Ameen’s federal defenders had waged a two-year battle to stop their client from being extradited, arguing that he was in Turkey with his family when the officer, Ihsan Abdulhafiz Jasim, was killed in Iraq.

Read more here:

Ordered to release him, they do but the US government doesn't follow the law -- certainly not the spirit or a judicial ruling.  Meaning? They release Omar from federal custody only to . . . turn him over to ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) --  willfully disregarding the ruling and continue their efforts to deport Omar back to Iraq.

Whether Donald Trump heads the Executive Branch or Joe Biden does, they do what they want, they rig the game while pretending it's fair.  Another example?  They toss out the immigration judge when he's not predisposed to ignore evidence.  KCRA reported earlier this month:

Sources told KCRA 3 Investigates that immigration Judge Scott Laurent, after weeks of hearings and testimony in the deportation case, is no longer the judge in the case.

The removal comes just two weeks after Laurent issued an order that was, in part, critical of the government’s case against Ameen.

In particular, Laurent was critical of the Department of Justice for wanting FBI agents to testify for the government, but not be cross-examined by Ameen’s attorneys.

Unlike a criminal court, immigration judges work for the Department of Justice, which is the agency looking to deport Ameen.

Not content with destroying a level playing field in just one way, the US government is also claiming that they have 'proof' that Omar lied on his application for refugee status; however, they refuse to share that with the defense attorney.  This is outrageous.  It is an abuse of power.  It is an attack on the  US justice system and it's coming from the US government.

 CAIR Tweets:
Omar Ameen came to this country as a refugee from Iraq. He was unjustly arrested based on dubious and questionable evidence that has never been made public. Yesterday, our Sacramento Valley branch filed a motion to unseal that evidence. #FreeOmarAmeen

Crescenzo Vellucci (DAVIS VANGUARD) reports:

The strange case of Iraqi refugee Omar Ameen and the U.S. government’s insistence of extraditing him – from Trump to Biden – continues. And as the saying goes, is becoming “curiouser and curiouser.”

Ahead of Ameen’s much-delayed federal immigration hearing next Tuesday, the Sacramento / Central California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV/CC) filed a motion Thursday suggesting there is a hidden piece of evidence in the case of the Sacramento area resident the U.S. government is, in fact, hiding.

CAIR notes Ameen was arrested in August of 2018 by ICE based on a “sealed” exhibit. But U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund Brennan, a former prosecutor, relied on the same document to prevent Ameen’s extradition to the Iraq for the alleged murder of an Iraqi police officer earlier this year.

CAIR argues that, according to Judge Brennan, “the government’s case was ‘dubious;’ its witnesses were ‘unreliable;’ and the narrative presented made ‘little sense.’ In other words, Judge Brennan found that there was no plausible way that Omar Ameen could have committed the murder for which he stood accused. Despite that ruling, Ameen was not released and was instead taken into ICE custody.”

Here's CAIR's statement:

[. . .] CAIR-SV/CC filed a motion to unseal an important piece of evidence in the case of Sacramento area resident, father of four, and Iraqi refugee Omar Ameen. 

On August 15, 2018, Ameen was searched and arrested based on that sealed exhibit, and nearly three years later U.S. Magistrate Judge Brennan relied on that same document in his Order denying Ameen’s extradition to the Republic of Iraq for the crime of murder of an Iraqi police officer. 

According to Judge Brennan, the government’s case was “dubious;” its witnesses were “unreliable;” and the narrative presented made “little sense.” In other words, Judge Brennan found that there was no plausible way that Omar Ameen could have committed the murder for which he stood accused. Despite that ruling, Ameen was not released and was instead taken into ICE custody.  

Layli Shirani, Senior Staff Attorney for Civil Rights at CAIR-SV/CC, said in a statement: 

“We have a strong interest in knowing what evidence the government relied upon in disrupting the lives of Omar and his family. Being accepted into the United States as a refugee is hard – the vetting process is extensive and takes a long time. It’s also important to note that this goes beyond Omar Ameen and the considerable harm that has been done – and is still being done – to him and his family.  

“This case, which was specifically cited by the Trump Administration in their effort to gut the Refugee Program, represents just one prong in that Administration’s overtly Islamophobic agenda. The Muslim Ban was another. Given the Biden Administration has chosen to allow deportation proceedings against Omar to continue despite his exoneration, we must remain vigilant.  

“This sealed exhibit was central to the Judge’s order refusing to extradite Omar Ameen. To fully understand that Order, and the actions of the Government in this case, we are asking the Court to unseal that exhibit.”  

CAIR-SV/CC is an office of CAIR, the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 


CONTACT: CAIR-SV/CC Communications Manager Zoha Raza, 

Omar has been imprisoned for over 1300 days. His life has been destroyed.  Time and again, the justice system has sided against the Executive Branch in Omar's case.  He should have been freed long ago.  The US government refuses to abide by the rules and continues to persecute Omar.  This is outrageous and it should be loudly and widely rebuked.  If you really care about immigration, then you care about what's being done to Omar by our government.

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