Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Our own Oregon jihadist fights conviction, has one week of freedom left before prison term

Pete Seda has one week to convince a judge that he is not a flight risk, and should be left free until his prison sentence begins.  Seda did run to Syria and Iran to escape from his 2005 indictment, but did return a few years later and stood trial.  Prosecutors want him behind bars and Seda's lawyers are arguing for continued freedom until his appeals end.

Whatever happens, it is clear Seda did send money to Chechen jihadists, and laundered money on behalf of Islam, and for that he should spend his time in the GreyBar Hotel.

From the Mail Tribune January 16 by Mark Freeman

Seda hopes to stay free as he fights convictions

Pete Seda has one week to convince a panel of federal judges that he should remain free on bail pending what attorneys said could be a lengthy appeal of his money-laundering and tax-evasion convictions.
The 54-year-old former Ashland peace activist has been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Hogan to begin serving his 33-month prison sentence Jan. 23 at the federal correctional facility in Sheridan, northwest of Salem.
His attorney has filed motions with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, arguing that Seda, also known as Pirouz Sedaghaty, is an excellent and reliable candidate to remain free on bail while the court hears his appeal — which likely will last longer than his prison term.
Hogan has rejected a similar request in U.S. District Court, and federal prosecutors continue to argue that Seda is a flight risk for several reasons, including his former status as an international fugitive hiding in Syria and Iran while avoiding extradition to face his 2005 indictment.
Defense attorney Larry Matasar counters that Seda's time free while wearing an electronic GPS bracelet has been spotless and that the federal officer monitoring Seda has recommended he get bail, court documents state.
A jury in September 2010 convicted Seda on tax-evasion and conspiracy charges for using his defunct Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation charity to help smuggle $150,000 from Ashland to Saudi Arabia in 2000 and signing a fraudulent tax return to cover it up.
Though prosecutors argued Seda's motive was to fund Islamic terrorists in Chechnya, Hogan ruled they failed to make that connection.
The only reason Hogan could not make the connection is that once the money hit Saudi Arabia, the trail went cold, and it was impossible, under American law, to connect enough dots to establish the Chechen/Saudi connection.  It was there, but our laws prevented us from using what little obtained information we had.
Read it all

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