Friday, September 3, 2010

Anti-War Student Targetted by the FBI

By Megan Spencer
East Lansing, Mich.
Published Sep 2, 2010 9:12 PM

Ahlam Mohsen, the 22-year-old Michigan State University student and anti-war activist arrested for throwing a pie at U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, is now the subject of an FBI investigation and faces possible federal charges of assaulting a member of Congress.
Police photo of Ahlam Mohsen.

On Aug. 16, during a Mecosta County Democrats meeting in Big Rapids, Mich., Mohsen threw an apple pie at Levin after anti-war activist Max Kantar read a statement accusing the senator of war crimes as chair of the Armed Services Committee. Levin was targeted for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as continued U.S. funding of Israel’s war against the Palestinian people.

Mohsen was arrested and held on a quarter-million-dollar bond at the Mecosta County Jail, where she faced felony charges of stalking and assault. She reportedly was the victim of racist epithets at the jail because of her Arab background and was also denied food that met her dietary requirements as a vegan.

The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice organized a protest Aug. 20 in Detroit that received widespread media coverage around the state, including Big Rapids, where Mohsen was incarcerated. A Facebook support page quickly grew to include hundreds of people, many of whom called Levin’s office and the Mecosta County prosecutor to demand that all charges be dropped and that Mohsen be freed from jail.

After pressure from her supporters, Mohsen was released Aug. 24 on a reduced bail, after a Mecosta County district judge decided to suspend the state charges against her while the FBI investigates and decides whether to charge her with a federal crime of assaulting a member of Congress. (Detroit Free Press, Aug. 25)

Mohsen’s supporters have noted that no FBI investigation was commenced nor charges ever brought upon racist right-wing zealots who spat on members of the Congressional Black Caucus during the health care reform debate. Apparently a federal criminal charge like the one facing Mohsen only occurs when it’s done as a form of anti-war protest.

The potential charges Mohsen faces indicate a significant attack by both the state and the federal government on free speech and the right of the people to protest injustices. The state is trying to use fear and intimidation to prevent the people from holding elected officials accountable for the consequences of their deeds regarding war.

Mohsen’s brave actions have drawn attention to the fact that the U.S. continues to inflict violent injustices upon the people of the Middle East and other oppressed groups throughout the world. It is imperative that the people stand with her and insist that all charges against her be dropped immediately.

Supporters are urgently encouraged to take action to ensure that justice is won for Ahlam Mohsen:

Contact Sen. Carl Levin’s office and demand that all charges and the federal investigation against Mohsen be dropped immediately. Phone Levin at 313-226-6020; fax 313-226-6948; or e-mail by going to http://levin.senate.giv/contact/.

Call the Mecosta Country Prosecutor’s Office directly at 231-592-0141 and demand that all charges against Mohsen be dropped in full.
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