He’s a nice guy. How could he possibly be a jihadist?
By David Ashenfelter in the Detroit Free Press:
DETROIT – Ask friends and associates of Kifah Jayyousi to describe the former Detroit schools administrator, and they’ll use words like “nice” and “respected,” totally opposite of how federal prosecutors are expected to portray him in a high-profile terrorism trial starting next week in Miami.
Prosecutors say Jayyousi, who obtained advanced engineering degrees from Wayne State University and taught there, helped create a North American network that recruited, bankrolled and equipped Islamic extremists to fight overseas.
Jayyousi’s court-appointed lawyer says his client is a law-abiding American who is guilty of nothing more than expressing controversial – but constitutionally protected – views….
The Miami trial has attracted international media attention because one of Jayyousi’s co defendants is Jose Padilla, 36, a former Chicago gang member whom the Bush administration once accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb in the United States.
The judge who will try the case, U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, is a former federal prosecutor and magistrate from Detroit. Cooke has called the government’s case “light on facts.”
Jayyousi’s lawyer, Detroit attorney William Swor, said the charges are a result of prosecutorial overkill.
“This is a man who published a newsletter, who came to the government’s attention because the views he was espousing were unpopular and unflattering to the government,” Swor said.
“He’s not guilty of anything except believing that America means what it says when it talks about freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”…
Jayyousi, Padilla and Adham Amin Hassoun, 44, a Sunrise, Fla., computer programmer, are charged with conspiring to kidnap, maim and murder by providing money, recruits and equipment for Islamic struggles in Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya from 1993 to 2001. The charges carry maximum penalties of life in prison upon conviction.