(SACRAMENTO, CA, 1/26/18) – The Sacramento Valley office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-SV), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization, today welcomed new evidentiary hearings granted for Hamid Hayat, a Lodi Muslim convicted in 2006 on terrorism-related charges. CAIR-SV said the hearings were granted to determine whether Hayat was denied a fair trial.
“We welcome the courts’ decision to hear new evidence in this case and hope that Mr. Hayat will be given a fair chance to present his appeal,” said CAIR-SV Executive Director Basim Elkarra. “As American citizens, the right to a fair trial is critical to our democracy. With Mr. Hayat’s case, there are legitimate concerns that he did not receive a fair trial.”
WHAT: Hearing on Hamid Hayat's Petition to Overturn His Conviction on the Grounds That He Was Denied a Fair Trial
WHERE: Courthouse 27 (8th Floor) of Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse (501 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814)
WHEN: Monday, January 29, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
BACKGROUND ON THE CASE: "Judge in Infamous 'Sleeper Cell' Case Agrees to Hear New Evidence That Could Help Convicted Terrorist" (The Intercept 2017)
In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Hayat’s case drew national media attention, while concerns were raised about the role that emotions and prejudice may have played during a period of heightened tensions.
Hayat, an American citizen, was convicted of having attended a training camp for 3 to 6 months while he was in Pakistan between 2003-2005. In the petition to overturn his conviction, Hayat presented sworn statements from 18 family and community members who stated that he could not have attended the camp because they saw him on a daily basis during the entire time he spent in Pakistan.
This evidence was never presented to the jury that convicted him. At this hearing, Hayat will offer testimony from four of those witnesses, as well as from his sister and cousin who were also in Pakistan at the time.
In the upcoming hearings at the U.S. District Court Eastern District of California, Hayat's legal team will also present expert witnesses challenging the evidence used to convict him, including allegedly false claims by the government that a written copy of a very common Islamic prayer found in Hayat’s wallet was direct proof of Hayat's “jihadi heart” and “jihadi mind.”
In an interview with The Intercept, Hayat’s lead appellate attorney Dennis Riordan said, “Finally, after 11 years, the bankruptcy of this conviction is going to be exposed at this hearing… It's going to be obvious that, not only should he have prevailed at trial, but that he's factually innocent."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-SV Civil Rights Attorney Saad Sweilem, 916-441-6269, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-SV; CAIR-SV Outreach & Communications Fellow Hammad Khan, (916) 581-0063, email@example.com; CAIR-SV CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org