Ahmad Niazi, framed by the FBI
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) said today that federal prosecutors have applied to dismiss all charges against a Muslim man whose case has been the center of a debate over the FBI`s use of agent provocateurs and informants in the American Muslim community.
SEE: Feds Want Case Dropped against Afghan (Associated Press)
Ahmad Niazi, a Tustin, Calif. man of Afghan origin, was arrested on immigration-related charges in 2009 after he helped report to law enforcement authorities an extremist who was seemingly planning terrorist attacks in the U.S. That extremist later turned out to be an FBI-paid agent provocateur, Craig Monteilh.
The FBI used Monteilh to spy on Southern California mosques and to entrap unsuspecting worshippers, according to Monteilh, who has since publicly disclosed the nature of his activities while in the FBI`s employ.
Because of the circumstances of Niazi`s arrest, CAIR-LA asked the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the FBI`s coercive and unlawful tactics in the arrest of Niazi, who has maintained that the charges against him are retaliation for his refusal to become an FBI informant.
SEE: CAIR-LA Calls for Probe into FBI`s Arrest of Ahmad Niazi
Before his arrest, Niazi told CAIR representatives that during the FBI raid of a friend`s house, Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III urged Niazi to "work" with the agency, saying that if Niazi refused, his life would be made a "living hell."
To bolster its case, the government had touted Niazi`s arrest as a victory against terrorism, raiding his home at gunpoint in front of his wife and children. At Niazi`s bail hearing in February 2009, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot said,
SEE: Bail OK`d for alleged in-law of Al-Qaeda official (Associated Press)
In recent years, media reports have exposed the FBI`s regular use of paid informants and agent provocateurs in the Muslim community to initiate and encourage terrorism plots.
ALSO SEE: The FBI: Foiling Its Own Plots Since 2001 (Salon)
"We are very pleased with this positive development," said Niazi`s Attorney Chase Scolnick with the Office of the Federal Public Defender. "From the very beginning I was overwhelmed by the support from the Muslim community. This result would not have been possible without them."
CAIR is America`s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.