HLF Petition filed with U.S. Supreme Court
May 21, 2012, Dallas -- On Friday, attorneys for the Holy Land Foundation and the five HLF defendants filed their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on errors made by the Federal Court in Dallas over the use of secret witnesses and hearsay evidence in the HLF trials.
The attorneys expect to get an answer from the Court around October 2012 on whether they will accept to hear the case. If they accept, the Court will schedule it during their next session and will likely have an opinion no later than June 2013.
This case involves one of the basic civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the Sixth Amendment's confrontation clause, which states:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right... to be confronted with the witnesses against him...
In a previous case involving secret witnesses, the court declared that "when the credibility of a witness is in issue, the very starting point in exposing falsehood and bringing out the truth through cross-examination must necessarily be to ask the witness who he is and where he lives.... To forbid this most rudimentary inquiry at the threshold is effectively to emasculate the right of cross-examination itself." (Smith v. Illinois - 1968)
The Muslim Legal Fund of America, a charitable legal fund that supports legal cases in defense of civil liberties in America, funded the HLF defense and is now funding the appeal. Khalil Meek, Executive Director of MLFA, is hopeful that the case will be heard and that justice will finally be restored.
"This case is about preserving the rule of law for all Americans. The crowning infamy of the Spanish Inquisition in its treatment of testimony was withholding from the accused all knowledge of the names of the witnesses against him," said Meek. "We are hopeful the US Supreme Court will hear this landmark case and restore justice to these five men, their families and all people in America. Obtaining a conviction by using anonymous witnesses appears unjust and does not inspire confidence in the promise that our criminal trials are open and even endeavors."
Meek said those who care about the integrity of our justice system and strengthening of civil liberties in American can learn more at www.mlfa.org.
"It’s remarkable; these defendants were convicted of providing charity," said Nancy Hollander, attorney for former HLF CEO Shukri Abubaker. "There was not, in ten years of wiretapping their homes, offices, looking at their faxes, listening to everything they said, there was not one word out of their mouths about violence to anyone or about support for Hamas. They provided charity. That’s what they were convicted of."
The Muslim Legal Fund of America is a charitable legal fund that supports legal cases in defense of civil liberties in America. MLFA is the only national legal fund dedicated to defending Muslims' constitutional rights in American courtrooms. Learn more about MLFA on their website, www.mlfa.org.
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Petition is attached below: