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Eye On Boise

Case already proven?

In legal briefs filed today, prosecutors contend they've already proven that University of Idaho graduate student Sami Al-Hussayen was part of a conspiracy to aid terrorists - an argument bitterly disputed by the defense in its own brief.

Prosecutors cited four fatwas offering religious justifications for suicide attacks and an incendiary speech about the Palestinian intifada as proof of the conspiracy. "These materials, and others like them, appeal to religious devotion and emotion as a way to persuade an audience that it should participate physically or by sending money, and several make those specific suggestions," the prosectuion brief argues. The prosecution has offered evidence suggesting Al-Hussayen played a role in posting the fatwas, written by four different Islamic clerics, on the Internet and facilitating an Internet broadcast of the lecture, which was by an extremist Saudi sheikh.

Though Al-Hussayen is the only one charged, the government's brief says, "The conspiracy as it existed among the defendant, the IANA and its employees has been established."

The IANA is the Islamic Assembly of North America, a religious outreach group for which Al-Hussayen admits doing extensive volunteer work, including operating and maintaining web sites.

The defense, in its brief, argued that the fatwas and the lecture show only that speech was broadcast, which is protected by the First Amendment. "There is no evidence indicating that Mr. Al-Hussayen or IANA entered an agreement to accomplish an illegal objective with anyone, let alone each other," the defense brief said. It added, "The government equates association with conspiracy."

Eye On Boise

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