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Florida Man Accused of ‘Terrorism’ Based On Book Collection

Counter Current News | July 2, 2015

Imagine being falsely accused of terrorism for nothing more than the books you have read. Well that’s exactly what has happened to a Florida man named Marcus Dwayne Robertson.

The U.S. government composed “snippets of information from various sources, out of context, to weave together a narrative of terrorist ideation,” according to a Florida judge.

That judge just ordered the release of Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” an Orlando, Florida resident and Islamic scholar. Abu Taubah was accused of “supporting terrorism,” but the “evidence” against him amounted to nothing more than the books on his bookshelf.

Robertson, also known as “Abu Taubah,” was incarcerated from 2011. The charges he faced, however, were tax fraud and illegal gun possession. Not exactly “terrorism.”

But following his arrest and conviction stemming from these charges, prosecutors added what they termed “terrorism enhancement” to the sentence.

There seems to be no rationale for this other than ABu Taubah’s religious orientation… that and his book collection.

This sentencing guideline modification would have locked Robertson up for 20 years.

But the judge’s recent rejection of this bizarre, Orwellian sentencing “enhancement”, led to the Islamic scholar being released immediately.

Robertson’s sentence was argued as justifiable by prosecutors who said the contents of his Islamic book collection were sufficient “evidence” that he was connected to terrorism.

Approximately two dozen eBooks that Robertson downloaded were presented as “evidence” of his “terrorist connections.”

Prosecutors highlighted passage after controversial passage, as though this could serve as legitimate evidence that someone is a terrorist. They didn’t seem to understand that the contents of a book someone owns cannot be used as evidence against them.

A memorandum obtained by First Look was issued along with Judge Gregory A. Presnell decision. That memorandum strongly rejected the government’s argument that eBook passages could be used as “evidence” of “terrorism.”

“[T]here was no evidence produced that Robertson ever accessed these particular documents, much less that he took their extremism to heart,” Presnell argued.

He made it clear that even if the Islamic scholar admitted to having read the eBooks in question, this would not and could not be used as evidence of terrorism.

“The government has never disputed Robertson’s claim of being an Islamic scholar,” he added. “It is not at all remarkable for an Islamic scholar to study, among many, many others, the writings of Islamic extremists.”

He said that beyond this, the prosecutors did “not even come close to proving… Robertson’s relatively minor income tax fraud was intended to promote a federal crime of terrorism.”

The judge noted that he received “hundreds of emails” over the last few weeks that urged him to lock up the man for no reason other than because he was a Muslim. These emails amount to little more than racism and bigotry in most cases, and fear-mongering and ignorance in the rest.

“In America, everyone has a right to say and believe what they want, within the bounds of the law,” Presnell said before declaring that Robertson would have to be released immediately.

Robertson’s lawyer Daniel Broderson agreed that “at no point did the government ever have any actual evidence [Robertson] advocated terrorism, so they attempted to use his library of books as a backhanded way of branding him as a terrorist. He spent four years in prison, two years of it in isolation, over a prosecution that was both unfounded and that completely ran afoul of the first amendment.”

Speaking to The Intercept after he was released, Robertson said, “they’re trying to find an indirect way to sentence people with non-terrorism charges as though they’d committed terrorism offenses, without having to provide the preponderance of evidence that is normally required in such cases. You own a few books and some guy tells an informant you said something, and suddenly that is legal basis enough to sentence you to prison for decades.”

He added that he “lost all those years, in jail, in terrible conditions, away from my family. After all that, they couldn’t produce one single statement from me that supported terrorism.”

July 3, 2015 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia, Subjugation - Torture | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on Random Candidate.

    Like

    Comment by thatrandomcandidate | July 3, 2015 | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on Scoop Feed.

    Like

    Comment by James Tracy | July 3, 2015 | Reply


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