Somalian's contempt charges reinstated

2012-09-19 10:16

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Minneapolis - A federal judge in Minnesota reinstated contempt charges Tuesday for a Somali woman who cited religious beliefs when she refused to stand for the court during the first two days of her high-profile terrorism trial last year.

Amina Farah Ali was convicted last fall of funnelling money to terror group al-Shabaab in Somalia, though she claimed she was raising money for charity. She is in a halfway house awaiting sentencing on 13 terror-related counts, including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organisation.

During the first two days of her trial, she refused to stand 20 times when those in the courtroom were ordered to rise. Chief US District Judge Michael Davis found her in contempt each time and sentenced her to a total of 100 days.

But the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated 19 of Ali's contempt charges in June and sent the issue back to Davis to reconsider, saying he must determine whether his order to stand was the least restrictive way to keep order in the courtroom. The appeals court said Davis had to balance the need for order while avoiding placing "substantial burdens on sincere religious practices."

On Tuesday, Davis ruled that Ali was in contempt. He reinstated all the charges against her, but purged her 100-day sentence.

Davis said that because of the heightened publicity in the case — the courtroom was filled with spectators during most of the trial — the court took extra measures to ensure order.

Extra security officers were on hand throughout the trial, cellphones were ordered to be turned off, signs about courtroom rules were posted in the hall in English and Somali, and one room outside the courtroom was set aside for Muslims who wanted to pray.

Difficult position

He also said he reached out to elders and leaders of the Somali community and told them he would be insisting on order in his court. He said he believed those elders intervened when a group of men in the gallery chose not to stand at one point, and the issue was resolved.

Davis added that he spent a lot of time talking about Ali's religious beliefs, and pulled her aside so she and the attorneys could talk to him out of the public's earshot. He said when Ali changed her mind and chose to stand on the third day of her trial, it showed her beliefs could change.

Her attorney had argued that under Ali's interpretation of Islam, she felt she "should not rise for persons when she does not rise for the prophet". But she began standing after she was visited in jail by clerics who told her she could stand if she were in a difficult position.

Ali and her co-defendant, Hawo Hassan, were among 20 people charged in Minnesota's long-running federal investigations into recruiting and financing for al-Shabaab, which the US considers a terrorist group with ties to al-Qaeda.

Prosecutors said the two women went door-to-door in the name of charity and held religious teleconferences to solicit donations, which they then routed to the fighters. Defence attorneys painted the women as humanitarians giving money to orphans and poor people, as well as to a group they felt was working to push foreign troops out of Somalia.



- AP
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  us  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.