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Writing a Letter to the Judge Before Sentencing Sample - DOC

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					Letter Writing Guidelines
1. Address letter to the Honorable Judge Gerald Bruce Lee
2. Express your belief in Ahmed's innocence despite his conviction
3. Discuss Ahmed's relationship to the community
     He donated blood to the Red Cross regularly
     He participated in interfaith activities
     He worked with people with disabilities
     He was a youth coordinator at local mosque
     He taught children to be good citizens
4. Points to discuss from case
     The trial is based on a confession made under torture
     New released Bush memos illustrate that President Bush allowed inhumane levels
        of torture to obtain info
     President Obama declared torture “is how you get bad information, not good
        intelligence.”
     Unusual and illegal delays in the case
            o 20 months of detainment in a foreign prison with NO CHARGES and NO
                ACCESS TO ATTORNEY
5. Emphasize the fact that Ahmed's charges do not include any actual harm inflicted on
anyone. Judge Bruce Lee himself, when he sentenced Ahmed, had said that Ahmed's
actions "did not result in one single actual victim. That fact must be taken into account."
6. Point out that the The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s ruling
granting the government resentencing was not unanimous
7. Appeal to the judge’s conscience. Do not use an accusatory tone or insulting language.
8. Kindly ask the judge
     Not to increase the sentence and to, instead, reduce it
     Consider the evidence that Ahmed was tortured

8. After completing your letter, please mail a copy to the court (address below) & send a
soft copy to the following email address: supportahmedabuali@gmail.com

9. Please postmark the letter by May 12, 2009. Please be reminded that the postage
price increases to $0.44 on May 11, 2009.

    Court Address:

    The Honorable Judge Gerald Bruce Lee
    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District
    401 Courthouse Square, Room 601
    Alexandria, VA 22314

NOTE: Please see the sample letters below. Please do not copy these letter. Use it only as
a reference and please write your own.

Dear Judge Lee:
I am writing to your Honor to kindly request that you keep Ahmed Abu-Ali's sentence at the low-
end of the Sentencing Guidelines' range. Having known Ahmed for many years, I am confident
that he is innocent of all the charges of which he was convicted. He is a peaceful, loving, bright,
and caring man. Anyone who interacts with him would conclude the same. Ahmed is the kind of
person who would offer to help the elderly, teach a child something new, and put others before
himself. He is a loved member of our community who has worked to serve it with all his power.
Ahmed has been an active member of the mosque he prayed at, teaching younger children
recitation of the Qur’an, good manners, and how to be good children. He is not a threat to anyone
but is, rather, an asset to the community and society as a whole.

Honorable Judge, Ahmed never hurt anyone and does not deserve a harsher sentence. As Justice
Motz asserted in her dissent, “it is not even alleged that [Ahmed] ever took up arms against
anyone”. In fact, the sentence that he is currently serving is too long and ought to be reduced.
Similarly-situated defendants have been sentenced to shorter prison terms. Your Honor, although
you sentenced Ahmed to a shorter sentence than the one requested by the prosecution, under the
Sentencing Guidelines, Ahmed's history and character warrant on even shorter.

In addressing the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to send
Ahmed’s case back to you for re-sentencing, we agree with Judge Motz that that majority failed
to follow the binding precedent of the United States Supreme Court in the cases of Gall and
Kimbrough. We ask your honor to again follow that venerable tradition of the common law, stare
decisis, and reduce Ahmed's sentence as the Sentencing Guidelines permit. I thank your Honor
for your efforts in ensuring that justice is served.
Sincerely,

Maryam Elsayed

We are urgently in need of your support. Writing a letter on behalf of an innocent
young man will not take more than 10 minutes of your time and can make a
difference in with regard to his sentencing.

Please be aware that the letter writing campaign is not tied to any specific
geographic location. You can be as far away as the Middle East, or right here in the
United States. We have been receiving copies of letters from everyone: friends,
students, teachers, professors, acquaintances, those who know Ahmed personally
and those who don't. The letters have been from people of all walks of life and
backgrounds and have been coming from all over the world!

EVEN IF YOU DON'T KNOW AHMED PERSONALLY, YOU CAN WRITE A
LETTER!!!

Please keep in mind that when the district judge sentenced Ahmed the first time,
while the government was pushing for a life sentence, ***the judge decided on 30
years and mentioned the letters from the community as a positive contributing
factor to his decision.*** I cannot emphasize enough the importance of your help
with this matter!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
―Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is a very close friend of mine. We grew up together in
VA, and we spent most of elementary, middle, and high school together. From the day I

knew Ahmed, I looked up to him. He was a role         model, an example to his peers, he was
an example of what a good person could and should be. He has almost all the virtues of

the greatest men in history. He was always kind,      always smiling, always giving,
always fair, always honest, always helpful. He cared for and loved
everyone in his community and beyond. He truly was an inspiring person, a self-
less person. The community as a whole, no matter what religion each individual may be,
lost a great man the day he was unjustly convicted. There are very very few
people, with the same noble virtues as Ahmed.‖
:   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


―I am writing to your Honor to kindly request that you keep Ahmed Abu-Ali's sentence at the low-
end of the Sentencing Guidelines' range. Having known Ahmed for many years as his

mathematics teacher,    I am confident that he is innocent of all the charges of
which he was convicted. As     the best student I have ever taught, Ahmed was
a very peaceful, loving, bright, and caring man. Anyone who interacted with him would conclude
the same. Ahmed is the kind of person who would offer to help his peers, teach a child something

new, and    put others before himself. He is a loved member of the community who
has worked to serve it with all his power. He is not a threat to anyone but is, rather,   an asset
to the community and society as a whole.‖
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A professor at BMC wrote:
―I am a professor at Bryn Mawr College. I write to ask you to allow a retrial of Ahmed Abu-Ali
instead of simply resentencing him as you are scheduled to do on May 18, 2009. …The
prosecutor admitted that the deeds for which he was convicted did not lead to the harming of
anyone—he was convicted of intentions and associations, not of actions, and his confession
provided the bulk of the evidence for those intentions and associations. There was

significant evidence that his confession resulted from
torture….In the last year, there has clearly been a change in U.S. governmental policies
defining what methods of interrogation constitute torture, and a change in attitude about the
effects of methods of interrogation allowed during the years after 9/11 by U.S. interrogators and
by other nations doing interrogations of U.S. citizens. In the light of these new governmental
policies, it would seem important to reconsider, in particular, interrogations which were lengthy
and which resulted in confessions. Ahmed Abu-Ali was interrogated for months in a Saudi prison,
and the U.S. State Department has said in its documents that there is in general evidence that
the Saudi government has used interrogation methods which would not be allowed under current
U.S. policies. There is a long history of false confessions resulting from torturous methods of
interrogation, dating back at least to confessions taped by American soldiers after being held in
captivity during the Korean War. I would ask you to allow a retrial of Ahmed Abu-Ali, during which
evidence that he was tortured could be introduced. His case has already brought international
attention because it seems likely that it involved abuse.‖


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
―I have known Ahmed for eight years, and I have been following his case since the beginning.

Despite the jury’s verdict, I am still convinced that he is
innocent of the charges that were brought against him. To me, it is painfully clear that the
government’s case against Ahmed is just one of several where the government has employed
extra-judicial means to persecute Arab Muslims for political ends. Although your Honor does not
control the verdict on Ahmed’s case, you do have the power to mitigate this travesty by reducing
his sentence. After the trial, you rightly denied the government’s request for a life sentence,

noting how   Ahmed’s actions ―did not result in one single actual
victim. That fact must be taken into account.‖ I ask you now to further reduce his sentence in
light of this, or – at the very least – not increase it.‖
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


―I know Ahmed Abu Ali indirectly through my friendship with his mother and two sisters. If he’s
anything like them then he’s one of the most honorable citizens of this country and is extremely
loyal to it. He’s an asset to any community he lives in. He used to volunteer with the youth
program to help the younger generation with their homework and guide them to higher morals.

He’s a   rare example of a truly honorable person in aspects of his life,
and his family is very well known in the community for their generosity, honesty, knowledge and
compassion.‖



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

―I have had the great pleasure of knowing Ahmed for the past six years. I first met Ahmed when I
was thirteen years old and he was a youth coordinator…while he remained in that capacity, his

genuine enthusiasm for working with children, his maturity and kind hearted nature were     an
inspiration to everyone that he was around. Even after graduating
highschool and attending college, he remained active in his community and continued to

participate in various activities. When I was younger I thought of Ahmed as        a great role
model and teacher. As time passed a great bond grew, and I now count him as a dear
friend….I have never seen Ahmed to be confrontational or defensive.         He has always
had a pleasant disposition. In no way is he a threat to the general public…Ahmed
has never committed a criminal offense, has been unlawfully detained, and until this point [he has
been] denied many of the civil liberties American citizens are entitled [to].‖



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


In a letter from the mother of two of the students Ahmed had taught,
―The kids really enjoyed his company and always respected him. I have known Ahmed both

professionally and personally and he is    one of the most outstanding All
American Boy I have known and I consider him as a son. Ahmed is a
person who could not hurt a fly. After watching his all these years my analogy
of him is as a lily in a pond.‖
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Neighbors:
―I first met Ahmed on the weekend I moved to Barcroft Hills, where Ahmed resided. That
weekend, we suffered an icestorm that left us without power for several days. Ahmed was one of
the several residents who volunteered to assist residents up and down stairs in our 10 floor
building during the outage…
[Ahmed]’s position was that Islam was a religion of peace, tolerance, and respect for your fellow

man….   In light of my association with and knowledge of Ahmed
during the last 6 years, I find it difficult to believe the charges
against him have merit. I believe him to be a positive influence on and a
contributing member to his Barcroft Hills community. I believe that, pending trial,    Ahmed’s
place is at home with his family.‖
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
―I have known Ahmed since he was 16 years old and believe him to be an            outstanding
young man. His parents have raised him and his four siblings to be remarkable caring
individuals. They are a wonderful asset to our community and participate at times of need by
helping their neighbors. Ahmed has always served on committees that help our community in
various ways and has always been ready to lend a helping hand to his fellow man. I have always

respected Ahmed and      he has always treated me with respect. We always
talked about his studies and religion and he truly believes in PEACE BE UNTO OTHERS as his

religion teaches.   To believe that this young man is a threat to this
country is ludicrous.‖
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