Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adnan Mirza framed by FBI

By: Shireen M Mazari The Nation October 25, 2010
Adnan Mirza framed by FBI
After the farcical trial of Dr Aafia Siddique in a US court, another Pakistani has fallen victim to the US through yet another travesty of justice. This time it is a student, Adnan Mirza, who has been jailed for 15 years ostensibly for “conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban and illegal gun possession.” However, the reality is totally different and shows how the FBI deliberately traps young Muslims through fabrication of evidence. Some local FBI agents secured their careers in the war on terror, but this young man has lost five precious years as a student and the only breadwinner for his mother and three younger brothers. In jail for nearly five years on flimsy evidence - audio tapes recorded by undercover FBI agents during a hiking trip talking to a young Muslim student about his views on America’s Iraq and Afghan wars - this Pakistani young man’s case, someone who is well-known in Houston’s poor districts for helping the needy on the streets on Christmas and Sundays, is a clear illustration of how unscrupulous local US law enforcement agents used the war on terror to promote their careers and create unnecessary panic among Americans by arresting and humiliating Pakistanis on trumped up charges.

Despite a weak case and clear signs of a setup by local FBI officers, Adnan was kept in a federal prison for five years. Tremendous pressure was put on him to accept the charges and spend a few years in jail. He knew he’d be deported if he accepted charges and his record would be tarnished for life for something he did not do. Unfortunately, Pakistani diplomats in the US also played along with FBI and pressured Adnan to accept charges, which he refused. Finally, the FBI managed to secure a favourable court verdict, and on 22 Oct. 2010, a judge in Houston sentenced Adnan to 15 years in prison.

The young man who used to spend his spare time feeding the needy at Houston intersections, and who was celebrated by local newspapers and television networks for upholding the Christmas spirit has thus been abandoned by his own country. But fair-minded and good Americans continue to support him. Renowned TV personality and political commentator Amy Goodman and have defended Adnan and highlighted his case. Adnan’s story and how he was clearly framed should serve as a warning to other Pakistani students who are either already in the US or planning to go there.

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