LOCAL COMMUNITY LEADER MOST RECENT VICTIM OF U.S. WAR ON TERROR POLICIES

Civil Liberties Defense Initiative (student-led initiative at UCLA School of Law)

LOS ANGELES – In a gross miscarriage of justice, a leader in Southern California’s Iranian American community faces denaturalization and up to 9 years in prison. On April 24, 2008, Seyed Mousavi — father of two UCLA students — was convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting group membership on naturalization forms, and violating the U.S.’s economic embargo against Iran.

His sentencing hearing is on Monday, October 6. Substantial evidence has been uncovered supporting a motion for retrial.

To that end, at Monday’s sentencing hearing Mousavi will present evidence of his innocence. From community members to concerned law students, there has been an outpouring of community support for Mousavi in what has become an extremely politicized trial.

For the last 20 years, Mousavi has been a major contributor to the well-being of the Muslim community in Southern California.

He is the founder of Al-Nabi Mosque in West Covina and a non-profit organization that has built bridges across religious divides. Under Mousavi’s leadership, Al-Nabi Mosque has been groundbreaking in developing English curriculum for recent immigrants, recognizing the unique issues facing American-Muslim youth, and preaching the virtue of inclusion and acceptance.

In addition to teaching in the school, Mousavi serves as a mentor for youth. More than 100 community members have written letters in Mousavi’s defense. Those who have known him as a friend, colleague, and mentor describe him as having changed their lives.

Though not charged with or convicted of acts of terrorism, the prosecution has painted Mousavi with the broad brush of “terrorist.” The government claims that Mousavi broke the embargo with Iran, and is demanding a sentence of up to 9 years primarily because of this charge.

Mousavi is alleged to have engaged in a consulting contract with a Kuwaiti company to bring cellular telephone networks to Iran. However, the sentence recommended by the government far exceeds what they have uniformly agreed to even for corporations which provided overtly military related products.

As a result, this is a case of selective prosecution. The U.S. government invoked unsubstantiated assertions, xenophobia and “secret evidence” of terrorism early-on in the case. The government also claims Mousavi was a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, though both the government of Iran and several experts deny this.

full article: www.insight-info.com

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