Amina Ali, accused supporter of Somali terrorists, complains of bad treatment in jail

Categories: International
amina ali.jpg
Amina Ali says jail guards are mistreating her.
Amina Ali knew she was supporting al-Shabaab; that much is certain. What her trial will determine is what she knew about al-Shabaab.

These revelations came during yesterday's opening statements in the case of Ali and Hawo Hassan, two Rochester women on trial in U.S. District Court in St. Paul for giving material support to terrorism.

Ali's behavior, and her treatment by authorities, has become an interesting sidetrack to the trial -- as if it needed any added drama. On Monday, at the start of jury selection, Ali refused to stand for the judge as he entered the courtroom.

Now, thrown in jail for contempt of court, Ali says she was forcibly stripped of her clothing, including her hijab, and that jail guards have treated her roughly. Since being thrown in jail, Ali has been skipping meals, Minnesota Public Radio reports.


Judge Michael Davis has told Ali she will spend five days in jail for each day she does not recognize courtroom protocol and stand when he enters the room, according to MPR.

"If you refuse to do something," Davis told her, "you understand the consequences of that."

Referring to her being stripped and forced to take off her hijab, Davis said he understood Ali's concerns of modesty, but jailhouse safety took precedent in those decisions.

Ali and Hassan are accused of routing $8,600 to al-Shabaab, the Islamic group which has wreaked havoc in Somalia, most recently claiming responsibility for a gigantic suicide bomb that killed at least 70 in Mogadishu yesterday.

In his opening statement, defense lawyer Dan Scott says Ali didn't know that al-Shabaab was a terrorist organization until she learned it from American authorities, and that Ali and Hassan were acting in the spirit of charity.

Arguging for the prosecution, assistant U.S. attorney Jeffrey Paulsen said there are phone recordings obtained by wiretap that will prove otherwise, claiming that Ali and Hassan would "rejoice" after al-Shabaab carried out terrorist attacks.

The trial could last as long as three weeks before it is turned over to the jury, which, MPR points out, is made up of 12 women and three men, all of them white.

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Not for nothing, but when she chose to become a US citizen, she swore this oath:

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.

It seems to me that if you choose to swear that oath, you can't say that the laws of the US are in conflict with your religion.


Jury made up of 12 WOMEN and 3 WOMEN?  .....


Protocol. It's a sign of respect for the judge and a quiet acknowledgement by everyone in the room that they're submitting themselves to the rule of law. To disrespect the judge, the person whose court you've gone to to prove your case, is to disrespect the legal process.

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