July 21, 2014

Appendix

A. Cases Reviewed

Case

Age at Time of Offense

Sting

Material Support

Fair Trial Concerns

Offense – Conviction

Sentencing Concerns (including sentence)

Setention 7 Treatment

Ahmed Abu Ali

21

 

 

Evidence Obtained by Coercion; Classified Evidence

(1) Conspiracy to provide material support and (2) providing material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization (Al-Qaeda); (3) conspiracy to provide and (4) providing material support to terrorists; (5) contribution of services to Al-Qaeda and (6) receipt of funds from Al-Qaeda; (7) conspiracy to assassinate the president of the United States; (8) conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy; (9) conspiracy to destroy aircraft

 

Life in prison (originally 30 years)

SAMs, Challenging SAMs

Sami Al-Arian

Age at arrest: 45

 

Broad Charges

 

Pleaded guilty: Conspiracy to contribute services to a designated foreign terrorist organization

57 months, with credit for time served

Pretrial Solitary Confinement: Other Physical Conditions and Treatment in Pre-Trial “Special Housing Unit” Detention

Amina Ali/Hawa Hassan

Amina Ali: 32

Hawo Hassan: 61

 

 

Use of FISA-Derived Evidence at Trial

Conspiracy to provide material support to Foreign Terrorist Organization; Material Support to Foreign Terrorist Organization (12 counts)

Amina Ali: 20 years

Hawo Hassan: 10 years

 

Yassin Aref/Mohammed Hossain

Yassin Aref: 34

Mohammed Hossain: 49

 

Identifying Targets for Prosecution Based on Religious or Political Views; Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness, Indigence; Informants with Criminal Histories

 

Inflammatory Evidence/Improper Evidence of Terrorism – Inaccurate Translations; Terrorism “Experts;’

Conspiracy to launder monetary instruments; laundering of monetary instruments; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations; providing false statements to the FBI (Aref only)

Yassin Aref: 15 years

Mohammed Hossain: 15 years

Pretrial Solitary Confinement – Impact of Pre-Trial Solitary on Pleas and Trial Preparedness; Restrictions on Family Contact

Abdulhaleem Ashqar

45

 

 

Use of FISA-Derived Evidence at Trial

Obstruction of justice; criminal contempt

Lengthy Sentences Based on Unproven Conduct; Sentence: 11 years

 

Sabri Benkahla

28

 

 

 

Obstruction of justice; providing false statements to the FBI

Lengthy Sentences Based on Non-Violent Conduct; 17-22 years

Obstacles to Challenging Prisoner Classification and Seeking Transfer to Less Restrictive Facilities

Case

Age at Time of Offense

Sting

Material Support

Fair Trial Concerns

Offense – Conviction

Sentencing Concerns (Including Sentence)

Detention and Treatment

Barry Bujol

29

Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Individuals Seeking Religious Guidance

 

Inflammatory Evidence/Improper Evidence of Terrorism – Inaccurate Translations; Terrorism “Experts”, Classified Evidence

Attempt to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; aggravated identity theft

20 years

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel

Adel Daoud

19

Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness, Indigence

 

Use of FISA-Derived evidence at trial

Attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction;

Pre-trial (mandatory life imprisonment if convicted)

 

Rezwan Ferdaus

26

Identifying Targets for Prosecution Based on Religious or Political Views; Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness, Indigence; Informants Playing a Key Role in Generating or Furthering the “Plot,” Informants with Criminal Histories

 

 

Pleaded guilty: conspiracy to destroy national defense premises, conspiracy to damage and destroy buildings owned by the US government; conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization

17 years

 

Fort Dix Five

Dritan Duka: 28

Eljvir Duka 23

Shain Duka: 26

Mohammed Shnewer: 22

Serdar Tatar: 23

Identifying Targets for Prosecution Based on Religious or Political Views, Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Individuals Seeking Religious Guidance, Informants Playing Key Roles in Generating or Furthering the “Plot”

 

Evidence of Unrelated Terrorism or Violence, Use of FISA-Derived Evidence at Trial, Anonymous Juries, Selective Use of Informant Evidence;

Conspiracy to murder members of the US military

Lengthy Sentences in Informant Cases;

Dritan Duka: life imprisonment

Eljvir Duka: Life imprisonment

Shain Duka: life imprisonment

Mohammed Shnewer: life imprisonment

Serdar Tatar: 33 years

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions - Other Physical Conditions and Treatment in Pre-trial “Special Housing Unit” Detention; Special Units for “Terrorism” Detainees: ADX & CMUs – ADX Florence, Restrictions on Family Contact, Transferring out of CMUs

Fahad Hashmi

24-26

 

Broad Charges

 

Pleaded guilty: conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization

15 years

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel; Special Administrative Measures – Severe Restrictions Imposed Through SAMs

 

 

Case

Age at Ttime of Offense

Sting

Material Support

Fair Trial Concerns

Offense – Conviction

Sentencing Concerns

Detention and Treatment

Oussama Kassir

33-34

 

 

Impact of Pre-Trial Solitary on Pleas and Trial Preparation

Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to kill or maim persons overseas; and distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction

Life imprisonment

Impact of Pre-Trial Solitary on Pleas and Trial Preparation; Special Administrative Measures – Severe Restrictions Imposed Through SAMs

Raja Khan

55-56

 

 

 

Pleaded guilty: attempt to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization

7.5 years

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel - Impact of Pre-Trial Solitary on Pleas and Trial Preparation

Tarek Mehanna

Indictment period lasted from 2001-2009; 26 years old when arrested

 

Broad Charges

Evidence of Unrelated Terrorism or Violence; Terrorism “Experts”

Conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; provision of material support to terrorists; conspiracy to kill in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide false statements; provision of false statements;

17 years

Special Administrative Measures – SAMs and the Attorney-Client Relationship

Adnan Mirza

28-29

Informants Playing Key Roles in Generating or Furthering the “Plot”

 

Inflammatory Evidence/Improper Evidence of Terrorism – Inaccurate Translations,

Conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization; unlawful possession of weapons

15 years

Pre-trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel

Mohammed Mohamud

19

 

 

Anonymous Witnesses

Attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction

Not yet sentenced

 

Newburgh Four

James Cromitie: 45

David Williams: 28

Onta Williams: 32

Laguerre Payen: 27

Identifying Targets for Prosecution Based on Religious or Political Views, Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness, Indigence, Informants Ignoring Targets’ Reluctance to Engage in Terrorism, Informants Playing Key Roles in Generating or Furthering the “Plot,” Informants with Criminal Histories

 

 

Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the US; attempt to use weapons of mass destruction in the US; conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles; attempt to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles; conspiracy to kill officers and employees of the US; attempt to kill officers and employees of the US (D. Williams & Cromitie)

Lengthy Sentences in Informant Cases;

Cromitie: 25 years

David Williams: 25 years

Onta Williams: 25 years

Laguerre Payen: 25 years

 

Case

Age at Time of Offense

Sting

Material Support

Fair Trial Concerns

Offense – Conviction

Sentencing Concerns

Detention and Treatment

Portland Seven

Jeffrey Leon Battle:28

Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal: 20

Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal: 18

Patrice Lumumba Ford: 27

Maher Hawash: 24

Martinique Lewis: 22

Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness

 

 

Jeffrey Leon Battle & Patrice Lumumba Ford: plead guilty to conspiracy to levy war against the US

Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal & Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal: conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization

Maher Hawash: conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization

Martinique Lewis: laundering monetary instruments

Jeffrey Leon Battle & Patrice Lumumba Ford: 18 years

Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal: 10 year

Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal: 8 years

Maher Hawash: 7 years

Martinique Lewis: 3 years

Other Physical Conditions and Treatment in Pre-Trial “Special Housing Unit” Detention

Uzair Paracha

23

 

 

 

Conspiracy to and provision of material support to a terrorist organization; conspiracy to make a contribution of funds, goods, or services to Al-Qaeda; making or receiving a contribution of funds, goods, or services to Al‑Qaeda; identification document fraud

30 years

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel; Classified Evidence ; Special Administrative Measures – ADX “H Unit” Conditions for Post-Conviction SAMs Prisoners

Raleigh 7 – Ziyad Yaghi/Omar Hassan

Ziyad Yaghi: 18-19

Omar Hassan:

 

Broad Charges

Terrorism “Experts”

Conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons (only Yaghi)

Yaghi: 30.5 years

Hassan: 15 years

 

Muhammad Salah

49

 

 

Prejudicial Evidence - Evidence Obtained by Coercion, Anonymous Witnesses, Anonymous Juries

Obstruction of justice

21 months

 

Pete Seda/Al Haramain

 

 

 

Evidence Suggestive of Terrorism in Non-Terrorism Cases, Terrorism Experts, Use of FISA-Derived Evidence at Trial

Conspiracy to defraud the US government; filing a false tax return (overturned in part, new trial ordered)

33 months

 

Hossam Smadi

19

Particularly Vulnerable Targets: Mental Illness, Indigence

 

 

Attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction

24 years

 

Mehrdad Yasrebi

54 at age of plea

 

 

Evidence Suggestive of Terrorism in Non-Terrorism Cases; Use of FISA-derived Evidence at Trial

Pleaded guilty: conspiracy to defraud.

One year home detention

 

Mohammed Warsame

27-28

 

 

Classified Evidence

Plead guilty: conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization

92 months

Pre-Trial Solitary Confinement, Other Conditions and Impact on Rights to a Fair Trial and Counsel

B. Detention Conditions [779]

Pretrial Solitary

Pretrial Special Housing Unit

Post-Conviction Solitary

ADX Florence

  • Ahmed Abu Ali
  • Sami Al-Arian
  • Yassin Aref
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal
  • Barry Bujol
  • Dritan Duka
  • Eljvir Duka
  • Shain Duka
  • Rezwan Ferdaus
  • Maher Hawash [780]
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Oussama Kassir
  • Raja Khan
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Adnan Mirza
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Shifa Sadequee
  • Tarik Shah
  • Mohammad Shnewer
  • Matin Siraj
  • Serdar Tartar
  • Ziyad Yaghi
  • Mohammed Warsame
  • David Williams
  • Sami Al-Arian
  • Ahmed Bilal
  • Barry Bujol
  • Dritan Duka
  • Eljvir Duka
  • Shain Duka
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Oussama Kassir
  • Raja Khan
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Shifa Sadequee
  • Tarik Shah
  • Matin Siraj
  • Ahmed Abu Ali
  • Dritan Duka
  • Eljvir Duka
  • Shain Duka
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Oussama Kassir
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Ziyad Yaghi
  • Ahmed Abu Ali
  • Dritan Duka
  • Eljvir Duka
  • Shain Duka
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Ossama Hilder
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Uzair Paracha

24

13

9

8

Pretrial SAMs

Post-conviction SAMs

CMU

  • Ahmed Abu Ali
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Oussama Kassir
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Mohammed Warsame
  • Ahmed Abu Ali
  • Fahad Hashmi
  • Ossama Hilder
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Mohammed Warsame
  • Mufid Abdulqader
  • Yassin Aref
  • Shukri Abu Baker
  • Sabri Benkahla
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal
  • Zachary Chesser
  • Eljvir Duka
  • Tarek Mehanna
  • Uzair Paracha
  • Shifa Sadequee
  • Mohammad Shnewer
  • Matin Siraj
  • Hossam Smadi
  • Avon Twitty

6

6

14

C. Length of Time in Pretrial Solitary Confinement

At least twenty-two individuals whose cases are documented in this report were held in some form of pretrial solitary confinement for varying lengths of time.[781] Seven of those individuals were held in Special Housing Units (SHUs) where they occasionally shared a cell with one other detainee for short periods of time between arrest and sentencing.[782]

Name

Length of Time in Pretrial Solitary

Prison

Ahmed Abu Ali

14 months

Alexandria Detention Center

Yassin Aref

17 months

Rennselaer County Jail

Sami Al-Arian

19 months

USP Coleman (SHU)

Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal

Information not available

 

Barry Bujol

19 months

FDC Houston (SHU)

Dritan Duka

23 months

FDC Philadelphia (SHU)

Eljvir Duka

23 months

FDC Philadelphia (SHU)

Shain Duka

23 months

FDC Philadelphia (SHU)

Rezwan Ferdaus

13 months

Wyatt Detention Center

Fahad Hashmi

39 months

MCC Manhattan (10 South)

Oussama Kassir

18 months

MCC Manhattan (10 South)

Raja Khan

11 months

MCC Chicago (SHU)

Tarek Mehanna

30 months

Plymouth County Jail

Adnan Mirza

22 months

FDC Houston

Uzair Paracha

23 months

MCC Manhattan (10 South)

Shifa Sadequee

41 months

USP Atlanta (SHU)

Matin Siraj

12 months

MDC Brooklyn (SHU)

Tarik Shah

At least 14 months (maybe up to 29)

MCC Manhattan (10 South)

Mohammed Shnewer

23 months

FDC Philadelphia (SHU)

Serdar Tatar

23 months

FDC Philadelphia (SHU)

Mohammed Warsame

68 months

Oak Park Heights

David Williams

1 month

Westchester County Jail

D. Quantitative Analysis of the Department of Justice Terrorism Conviction Dataset

There were 494 individuals on the Justice Department list of convictions for terrorism-related offenses between September 1, 2001 and December 31,2011, which is the most current Justice Department data publicly available on terrorism-related cases.

The original Justice Department PDF lists the cases by Justice Department category. Category I cases involve charged violations of federal statutes that are directly related to international terrorism (regardless of the offense of conviction). Category II cases involve charged violations of a variety of other statutes where the investigation involved an identified link to international terrorism.

DOJ Category

Number of Offenders

Percentage of Offenders

I

225

46%

II

269

54%

Total

494

100%

Number of Convictions and Offenses Involved

Among the 494 offenders, there were 917 separate convictions.[783] The majority of offenders on the DOJ list were only convicted of a single offense. However, 22 percent of those on the list were convicted of three or more offenses. The 917 convictions included 140 unique offenses. The two most frequent offenses, “Providing Material Support” and “Conspiracy,” account for more than 1 in 4 of the DOJ convictions.

Sentences for Material Support and Conspiracy

Table: Most Frequent Convictions by Offense

Offense (US Code)

Number of Convictions

Percent of All Convictions

Providing Material Support to Designated Terrorist Organizations (18 U.S.C. § 2339B)

111

12%

Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371)

92

10%

False Statements (18 U.S.C. 1001)

58

6%

Providing Material Support to Terrorists (18 U.S.C. § 2339A)

57

6%

136 Other Offenses

599

65%

Total

917

100%

We examined sentences for those conviced of the offenses of Providing Material Support to Terrorists (18 U.S.C. § 2339A), Providing Material Support to Designated Terrorist Organizations (18 U.S.C. § 2339B), and Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371). Sentencing data within the dataset was complicated by the fact that individuals could be convicted of multiple offenses, and multiple counts per offense, yet have a single sentence. Additionally, the circumstances regarding the crime of two people convicted of the same offense can greatly differ. Therefore, it is difficult to connect a sentence to an offense code for comparative analysis. However, exploratory analysis does provide some worthwhile information.

First, we analyzed those individuals convicted of a single offense, negating any influence of additional offenses on sentencing. We found that:

  • All 12 people with a single conviction of Providing Material Support to Terrorists (18 U.S.C. § 2339A) were given prison sentences with the average sentence of 132 months. A quarter of this group was given the maximum 15 year sentence.
  • Nearly all (96 percent) of the 48 people convicted only of Providing Material Support to Designated Terrorist Organizations (18 U.S.C. § 2339B) were given prison sentences—averaging 87 months. Of those, 15 percent were given the maximum 15-year sentence.
  • There were 28 people convicted of Conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 371). Nearly 3 out 4 were given a prison sentence. Prison sentences averaged nearly 2 years for Conspiracy convictions.

We gathered information from court documents on whether convictions were secured through guilty pleas or through trial for 489 of the 494 defendants. Of those, 74.2 percent were secured through plea. In comparison, in FY 2012, 97 percent of all federal convictions were secured by plea, indicating that terrorism defendants appear to be more likely (25.8 percent) to risk trial than other federal defendants (3 percent).[784]

If we examine the types of convictions for material support or conspiracy charges, the vast of majority of those who were only convicted of a single crime pled guilty. Over 94 percent of those convicted only of conspiracy, and 87 percent of those convicted only of material support, pled guilty. Those that went to trial were more likely to have faced multiple charges of conspiracy and/or material support.

Those that went to trial consistently received longer prison sentences than those who pled. Of people only convicted of Material Support, those convicted by trial received 57 months more prison time, on average, than those who pled. Those who went to trial for both Material Support and Conspiracy charges received sentences nearly three times, or nearly 18 years, longer, on average, than people who pled to similar charges.[785]

E. Government Correspondence

Download a PDF of this correspondence.

  • Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation on November 21, 2012
  • Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute letter to the Department of Justice National Security Division on February 25, 2013
  • Department of Justice’s reponse to Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute on May 23, 2103

[779] Six of the prisoners are not quoted or referred to by name in the report, but review and documentation of their experiences informed our analysis of detention conditions.

[780] Detained pursuant to a material witness warrant.

[781] All of the solitary pretrial detention was administrative in nature except for 4 of the 11 months served by Raja Khan, which were punitive, and possibly the time in solitary served by Bilal, for which we were unable to obtain specific details. The case of Shifa Sadequee is not referred to by name in this report, but review and documentation of the case informed our analysis.

[782] Those individuals are Sami Al-Arian, Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, Shain Duka, Uzair Paracha, Mohammed Shnewer, Serdar Tatar.

[783] This analysis does not consider the number of counts of each offense for each conviction. For example, if an individual was convicted of 2 counts of Conspiracy, the Conspiracy conviction is only counted once as there was only a single conviction.

[784] United States Sentencing Commission, FY 2012 Sourcebook.

[785] Though all of these individuals were convicted of Material Support and Conspiracy, they may also have been convicted of other charges.