Protest planned in support of Fort Dix Five
Monday, May 31st, 2010
A rally will be staged in Center City at noon Tuesday in support of the Fort Dix Five.
The five young men from Cherry Hill were convicted more than a year ago of conspiring to kill American soldiers at the New Jersey Army base.
Lawyers for the Fort Dix Five have lost an appeal of the convictions on terrorism charges. The five remain in prison, some serving life sentences.
Activists will rally outside the federal courthouse on Market Street to bring attention to what they say are trumped-up charges created by over-zealous federal investigators and undercover informants.
Lynn Jackson of the activist group Project SALAM, based in Albany, New York, says federal prosecutors violated civil rights in this and similar cases. She says the government went too far in trying to pre-empt suspected acts of terrorism acts before those they suspected actually did anything illegal.
Jackson: "It's kind of a retribution to Sept. 11. We are a nation of laws; we are a nation that has the Bill of Rights. We want to explain how violating the rights of Muslims is wrong. It's wrong not to apply the Bill of Rights to everyone."
Jackson says anti-terrorist investigations of Muslims have involved entrapment and informants with ulterior motives.
Jackson: "Last July, the Inspector General of the Justice Deptartment said there may be cases where exculpatory evidence – evidence that shows the defendent was innocent – was not given to the defense in these cases. We think the Fort Dix Five case is one of those cases that should be looked into."
Federal prosecutors who worked on the Fort Dix case could not be reached over the holiday weekend.