Help free the five humanitarians of the Holy Land Foundation

The new administration will be sworn in on January 20, so there is a small window of time to right an immense wrong.  The 15- to 65-year sentences received by the five defendants in the Holy Land Foundation trial can be commuted by the President.

It will take less than a minute of your time to help reverse this injustice.

Please call President Obama at the White House at 202-456-1111 and tell the person who answers the phone that you have a message for the President, then say, “Dear President Obama, please commute the sentences of the five Holy Land Foundation defendants to time served. Thank you”.

Below are excerpts from a speech given by Nancy Hollander, attorney for Shukri Abu Baker, CEO of Holy Land Foundation.

This case involved nothing more than the provision of charity. Food, medical supplies, wheelchairs, and backpacks filled with school supplies-just charity. The Holy Land Foundation and these men were never accused of, never charged with, and never convicted of a single violent act.  Over the years, from 1986 until 2001, Holy Land raised and gave away millions of dollars to the victims of national disasters, hurricanes, tornadoes, and man-made disasters in the U.S. and in other parts of the world. For example, Holy Land arranged a blood drive after the Oklahoma City bombing. But just as many charities focus on particular people, most of their focus was on the people in their homeland-Palestine. Throughout the years that we worked on this case, no one ever disputed that the situation in Palestine was desperate. The government’s own expert, Matthew Levitt, who considered himself an expert on Palestine, recognized the plight of the Palestinians as desperate and said so in trial.

Neither Holy Land trial contained any evidence, not from the secret 10 years of wiretaps, nor from the anonymous documents, nothing, that Shukri Abu Baker advocated violence against Israel. Not a word from his lips that he hated Jews. Not a word from his lips that he supported Hamas. These were fictions. Fictions that the government foisted upon the court and the jury. The law did not matter. The facts did not matter. What mattered was that these were Palestinian men providing charity and feeding Palestinian children and in the name of national security we simply could not let it happen”…

“The Holy Land case is, I believe, the Korematsu case of this generation. The Korematsu Court upheld the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II because they believed that it was a national security issue. Holy Land, like Korematsu, was based on prejudice and fear. The law and the Constitution were ignored. Five innocent men have been imprisoned, two of them for the rest of their lives. It was unconstitutional; it was unfair; it was based on prejudice; it was based on fear; and, frankly it brings shame to the American justice system. I always hate to end on a low note by saying what a tragedy this is, but it is a tragedy. It is up to us, it is up to the people in this room and the people in this country to take back our justice system and to demand that it be fair to everyone. That must be our goal.

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