He never was, nor are dozens of other Muslims bogusly charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for their faith and ethnicity at the wrong time in America. When a nation imprisons the innocent, we're all equally vulnerable, and this country does it repeatedly and shamelessly.
His trial was a travesty of injustice, based solely on torture-extracted evidence, Judge Gerald Lee suppressing a chance to prove it nor acknowledging his denial of constitutional protections, including against self-incrimination or right to an attorney during questioning, let alone not to be tortured.
On appeal, the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction, but overturned the sentence on grounds that the District court deviated from federal sentencing guidelines. Judge Lee then resentenced Abu Ali to life in prison after which he was incarcerated at Florence, CO Supermax.
Commenting on the case, Amnesty International (AI) said it was:
"seriously concerned that (his) trial may set a precedent in US courts of according unqualified support to the declarations of a foreign government regarding its human rights record as a means of rendering evidence admissible, including statements obtained by torture and ill-treatment. In this case, the statements of officials from Saudi Arabia, a state with a clear record of widespread torture and ill-treatment, flatly denying that such practices existed appear to have been taken at face value with no serious attempts allowed to challenge the claims when presented."
Court proceedings were orchestrated to convict. Abu Ali never had a chance. From the time he was arrested, held by the Saudis and returned to America, he was guilty as charged to be locked in prison hell for as long as authorities wish, and be treated like a caged animal under restrictions imposed under Special Administrative Measures (SAMs).
Effective May 17, 1996, "the Attorney General may authorize the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to implement 'special administrative measures' (when) there is a substantial risk that a prisoner's communications or contact with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury to persons."
Using vague language, it scraps traditional attorney-client privileges to monitor and/or restrict communications between them - not to protect state secrets or prevent harm, but to harass and obstruct justice.
Effective October 2001, they may be imposed from 120 days to a year, and if the Attorney General believes that "reasonable suspicion exists (that) an inmate may use communications with attorneys or their agents to further or facilitate acts of violence or terrorism, this rule amends the existing regulations to provide (BOP authorities the right to) monitor mail or communications with attorneys in order to deter such acts...."
In other words, on the pretext of deterring "terrorism," a centuries-long core US legal principle was scrapped, to include attorney-client privilege, other communications with family, friends, other inmates, and the media, regular correspondence and telephone use - compounded by imposed isolation in special residential units or solitary confinement.
From arrest to incarceration, Abu Ali's case represents a travesty of justice from an nation affording none to its most vulnerable, especially Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims determined guilty for their faith at the wrong time in America.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.