American Muslims for Palestine, April 22, 2017
(WASHINGTON DC 04.21.2017) — The federal government has dropped the charges against AMP staffers Taher Herzallah and Kareem El-Hosseiny. Stephen Rickard, Deputy Chief of the misdemeanors section in the U.S. Attorney’s office notified the men’s attorney Ann Wilcox on Friday evening.
Filing what is called a “nolle prosequi,” or a formal notice of abandonment, the charges have been dropped and the case is closed.
“The United States of America, by and through its attorney, the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, hereby notifies the court and the defense that the government is entering a nolle prosequi in this case, thereby causing the information to be dismissed without prejudice.”
“We are overjoyed,” Herzallah said. “We showed the federal government we were not going to take their biased charges silently. This really shows the power of the people to speak truth to power.”
Herzallah and El-Hosseiny were arrested in February along with four others from Code Pink and If Not Now for protesting at the Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. Ambassador David Friedman. Herzallah and El-Hosseiny — the only two Arabs and Muslims in the group — were the only two with criminal charges filed against them by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Three of the protesters were allowed to pay a small fine the same day. One had his case transferred to traffic court.
The men rejected a plea deal that would have required 32 hours of community service and included being banned from Capitol grounds for a lengthy period of time. Instead, they opted for a trial to fight the selective prosecution charges on the grounds they were based on racial, religious and ethnic bias.
El-Hosseiny added, “This proves that all the public, organizational and faith-based support sent a strong message to the federal prosecutors.”
In addition to a successful social media campaign, which was joined by several Palestinian rights and social justice organizations and that reached upwards of 1 million accounts, the Huffington Post, AJ Plus, Mondoweiss, Muftah and other media outlets kept the case in the news. The Associated Press had also started working on a story.
The American Muslims for Palestine is extremely grateful for how our partners rallied around our colleagues and supported their effort to fight the charges that amounted to selective prosecution.
“AMP thanks NLG attorney Ann Wilcox for her expertise, professionalism and willingness to fight for justice and to see this through to the end,” said Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, AMP national policy director. “We could not be prouder of our colleagues and we’re relieved at the positive outcome.”
AMP is also thankful to all the individuals and groups who helped spread the word, including the US Palestinian Community Network, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Friends of Sabeel North America and the 15 faith leaders who signed the letter of support, DCI-Palestine, Adalah, IfNotNow, Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace national, as well as the DC and New York chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace.
American Muslims for Palestine Action Alert, April 12, 2017
We need your help to get criminal charges against AMP staffers Taher Herzallah and Kareem El-Hosseiny dropped at their status hearing on April 20.
Capitol Hill Police arrested six people protesting at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing of David Friedman as ambassador to Israel on Feb. 16, 2017. Herzallah and El-Hosseiny — the only two Arabs and Muslims in the group — are also the only two facing criminal charges filed against them by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Three of the white Jewish protesters were allowed to pay a small fine the same day. One had his case transferred to traffic court.
Herzallah and El-Hosseiny face six months in jail and a $500 fine.
We feel that Herzallah and El-Hosseiny were targeted for selective prosecution.
We intend to vigorously challenge this selective prosecution, on the grounds that the charges were based on racial, religious, and ethnic bias. We need your help to support our challenge and to get the charges dropped.
This is not a Muslim vs. Jewish issue. Indeed, the Jewish protesters from Code Pink and IfNotKnow, who also were arrested, have rallied around the AMP staffers. No one should have been detained because the protesters were exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and political dissent.
Herzallah and El-Hosseiny are due to appear before DC Superior Court on April 20.
Please help us make noise to get the charges dropped.
There are three ways you can help:
- Twitter blast from Noon to 3 p.m. EST, on Thursday, April 13. We’re targeting media to get coverage.
- Join our rally outside the courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave., NW, at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 20.
- Help us fill the Courtroom 311 at 9 a.m., Thursday, April 20.
We need to show Associate Judge Marisa Demeo that we reject bigotry and discrimination in all its forms. Let’s send a message of inclusions and show the court what allyship looks like.
LIST OF MEDIA TWITTER HANDLES
We’re targeting the media to amplify the story. We’re hoping they’ll retweet our tweets. If there’s enough movement, we’re hoping they’ll cover the story (this is in additional to traditional media outreach efforts!)
Associated Press – @AP
Washington Post – @PostVideo,@Milbank, @ishaantharoor , @im_PULSE
@VICE, @vicenews, @joshuahersh, @NafeezAhmed
The Guardian – @GuardianUS, @antloewenstein
+972 Magazine — @972mag
BuzzFeed – @BuzzFeed, @BuzzFeedNews, @radbrowndads
POLITICO — @politico, @seungminkim, @POLITICOLive
@ABCNews, @NBCNews, @CBSNews
MSNBC – @AymanM , @maddow
International journalist – @ClancyReports, @JamalsNews
Middle East Eye = @cjwerleman, @MiddleEastEye, @gill_joe
Investigative, independent journalist – @claytonswisher , @davidsheen
Al Jazeera English – @CharlieAJ , @rampietti, @natachabut, @julianaruhfus, @NadimJBaba, @renee5lewis55
Reporter – @melissakchan
Reuters – @chrisarsenaul
BBC – @Goshno
US Radio, the World – @StephenProducer
Arabic – @kasimf , @mr_abdualaziz1
AMP staffers are the only 2 out of 6 who were arrested at Friedman hearing facing 6 months in jail http://bit.ly/2ojTxDG
Biased prosecution against Muslim protesters but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG @GuardianUS @972mag @davidahearst @MiddleEastEye @antloewenstein
Criminal charges against Muslims but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG @GuardianUS @972mag
Criminal charges agnst Muslims but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG @MiddleEastEye @antloewenstein #Selectiveprosecution
Criminal charges agnst Muslims but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG #Selectiveprosecution @politico @seungminkim @maddow
Criminal charges agnst Muslims but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG #Selectiveprosecution @ABCNews @NBCNews @CBSNews
We don’t accept selective prosecution #DroptheCharges against @TaherHerzallah & @kelhosseiny bit.ly/2omRZqK
Rally and then fill the courtroom for @TaherHerzallah & @kelhosseiny bit.ly/2omRZqK#DroptheCharges
We need you 4.20 rally against #selectiveprosecution at DC courthouse bit.ly/2omRZqK
Six protesters arrested at Friedman hearing 2 Muslims one ones charged with crime bit.ly/2ojTxDG #DroptheCharges
.@TaherHerzallah & @kelhosseiny subjected to drug test as part of discriminatory charges for Friedman protest #SelectiveProsecution
Biased prosecution against Muslim protesters but Jewish protesters get off bit.ly/2ojTxDG @AP @PostVideo @BuzzFeed @POLITICOLive