Press Release: CAIR-Chicago Reacts to Salah Trial Sentencing

(CHICAGO, IL, 7/12/07) – The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) joins thousands of fellow citizens in expressing their dismay at the 21-month federal prison sentence given to Muhammad Salah, 54, for being convicted of a minor charge of lying on a pre-trial questionnaire in a civil lawsuit. He was also fined $25,000 by U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

The government spent significant taxpayer resources in the prosecution of this case, and the lives of Mr. Salah and his family have been disrupted for years. The jury acquitted both defendants of all major charges. Despite failing to convict Salah on terrorism charges, the prosecution continued to seek an excessive 10-year sentence. For many observers, the Salah case amounted to political persecution.

“As a stateless Palestinian, Mr. Salah came to America hoping to find justice and dignity.” CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab said. “Years later, the same politics that chased him out of his childhood home followed him into America, and despite the not-guilty verdict by his fellow Americans, ended up costing his freedom yet again.”

The community sent over 640 letters of support for Salah stressing his service to humanitarian causes and continues to stand behind Salah and his family. “The judge refused to impose a sentence below the stated guidelines despite the overwhelming community support and unprecedented nature of the charge,” said CAIR-Chicago’s Civil Rights Coordinator Christina Abraham. “His case is of concern to every person who cares for the stated principles of this nation.”

CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director (847) 971-3963 or (312) 212-1520 or Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator (312) 212-1520

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Chicago Tribune:

The community viewed Salah as “a trustworthy person caught in a political drama at a time when it’s difficult to be a Palestinian or a Muslim,” Rehab said. “The feeling is this could happen to anyone.”
READ MORE in 21-month sentence for Salah

CBS 2 Chicago:

“It’s a sad day for the Muslim community,” said Christina Abraham of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “They poured their hearts with support of this case. They wrote about 650 letters regarding this case. They packed the courtroom every day.”
READ MORE in Muhammad Salah Was Convicted Of Lying In Civil Suit