Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Muslim students want DA off speech disruption case

By
March 12, 2011 |

By Amy Taxin

SANTA ANA — Eleven Muslim students charged with disrupting a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at a California university sought Friday to have the district attorney pulled from the case.

Prosecutors illegally obtained search warrants and focused on the religion of the defendants by dubbing the case the “UCI Muslim case,” said Dan Mayfield, one of the students’ attorneys.

“We are asking the attorney general of the state of California to step in and take over the case,” Mayfield said during a news conference after the students’ arraignment was postponed until April 15. The courtroom was packed with supporters.

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner said the allegations were not grounds to pull his office from the case. The students are each charged with one count of misdemeanor conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one count of misdemeanor disturbance of a meeting.

The students were arrested on Feb. 8, 2010, after shouting in protest at a speech at UC Irvine on U.S.-Israeli security, forcing Ambassador Michael Oren to halt his remarks for 20 minutes.

The case has stoked an intense debate about freedom of speech. District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed the charges last month, prompting a public outcry by Muslim and civil rights advocates who say prosecutors were discriminating against students exercising their right to dissent, just as many other college-goers do without punishment.

Prosecutors contend the protest was a premeditated attempt to disrupt Oren’s lecture and infringed on the rights of the hundreds of people who had gathered on campus to hear him speak.

“We look forward to the actual evidence coming out,” Wagner said. “Anyone who was at the assembly could tell you, the First Amendment rights of the speaker and the audience were being violated clearly by these defendants, and that’s the principle on which we are prosecuting this case.”

Students and their advocates contend they did nothing wrong and have already been through a rigorous disciplinary process at the university, which revoked the Muslim Student Union’s charter for a quarter and placed it on two years of probation.

“These students merely stood up and expressed deeply rooted political dissent in a manner that was peaceful and tempered,” said Reem Salahi, one of the students’ attorneys.

Eight of the students attended UC Irvine and three were from the nearby campus of UC Riverside.

If convicted, they could face a sentence ranging from probation with community service and fines to up to six months in jail.

Jacqueline Goodman, one of the students’ attorneys, said there had been discussions about a possible plea deal but no agreement was reached. About 150 people packed the courtroom Friday to show support for the defendants, including relatives, community leaders and students.

Ojaala Ahmad, a senator with the student body government at nearby Cal State Long Beach, said her organization had passed a resolution in support of the defendants.

“If we as a student body government don’t speak up against it, it could be any one of our students from any of our universities next,” she said.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    DHS musicians back from summer in Italy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Russian aid convoy reaches war-torn Luhansk

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

    Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

     
    Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

    Record drought saps California honey production

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    World travelers

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Weightlifters causing a racket

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Police are our friends, right?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Wage plan has a big flaw

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    No support for militarization

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A better use for this vehicle

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

     
    Light-hitting Cats fall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Giants win nightcap in Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Yolo Mambo to play free show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Natsoulas to host mural conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Business

    Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6