Masood's lawyer's motion for a continuance on the sentencing originally schedueld for today was successful. The sentencing has been postponed until June 5, 2008. From the Patriot Ledger:
"U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock was prepared to sentence the former Islamic Center of New England cleric to three years’ probation, or possibly set a tougher penalty, for visa fraud charges."
"Instead, a clearly angered Woodlock postponed the sentencing until June 5, when he was told that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents planned to take Imam Masood back into custody as soon as he left the court.
" 'We’re going to slow the ball down,'' Woodlock told lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. '`I’m not sure everyone has thought this through.''
"Five Federal Protective Services vehicles were parked outside the Moakley Courthouse, waiting to whisk the imam to jail."
"U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan of Abington attended the brief session, but had no comment afterward."
"Imam Masood’s lawyers said they were told of the immigration agency’s plans at 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, barely 24 hours before the scheduled sentencing session. They filed an emergency motion for the delay Thursday morning."
"The imam’s attorney Norman Zalkind said it all parties had agreed that Imam Masood would remain free on a $10,000 bond while his deportation case resumed in federal Immigration Court."
It seems to me that Mr. Masood should be treated the same as Waheed and Nusrat Hashmis, who were whisked off to Pakistan, or Obain Attouoman, a popular Fenway High School teacher, who was whisked back to the Ivory Coast. No exceptions should be made here for Masood, the brother of Hafiz Saeed, founder of terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jama'at al-Dawa. As a commenter wrote a few days ago at an Asia Times forum:
"By the way what hell the brother of Hafiz Saeed [Chief of an Anti Indian Jihadi Org worked and kept active under the very nose of Pakistan Army (Coalition of the Willing under USA) from 1999-to date] was doing in the USA? How the hell he reached to the USA?"
Good question. How the hell he reached the USA?
And why is a federal judge trying to "slow the ball down"? Speed this ball up!
People in Pakistan and India are incredulous about this, as well as the other Hafiz Saeed relations here in the U.S., two of whom are still here, one in Lowell.
On May 14, 2008, Masood's lawyers filed a memorandum in support of the lenient sentencing of three years probation, part of a joint recommendation of Masood and the government. The memorandum also sought to waive the fine, due to Masood's inability to pay. He is reported to have a net income of -$961. (Hmmm, the Muslim American Society could certainly pay any fine, as they've probably assumed his considerable legal expenses for a year and a half now.)
The memorandum provides some info on Masood and his family, and includes such tender sentiments as these:
"he (Masood) came to love the United States after spending some years here and the greatest wish he had was to say that America was his country. He thought that the educational and employment opportunities, especially for his daughters, would be much better in the United States than Pakistan."
Masood still has his interfaith supporters,although their numbers have dwindled since the arrest in November 2006. Exhibit A of the memorandum is a letter of support from Rabbi Barry Star of Temple Israel in Sharon, who writes that "Masood has worked to make Sharon a model community for interfaith relations." Leafy, affluent Sharon is probably not a tough beat for interfaith relations. Not everyone found him to be a good interfaith model. Masood has admitted that he lied repeatedly. What sort of religious leader is that? Would you want him teaching ethics and morals to your kids? Why is Rabbi Starr supporting this man?
Exhibit B is a letter of support from Paul Peckham, a member of the Walpole Peace and Justice Group, who wrote that Masood is a man of "great patience" and is a "wonderful, caring man." The Walpole Peace and Justice Commission is a pretty uber-left wing group which seems to mainly hold peace vigils on the Walpole Common. The parent organization, United for Peace and Justice, is an anti-war, pro-Castro group. Mr. Peckham himself traveled to Venezuela in January 2006 as part of the "Global Exchange Reality Tour," and he wrote that he was mightily impressed with the Social Revolution of Veenzuela under Chavez. Buy Citgo! Support Chavez! I'm afraid Mr. Peckham is a rather poor judge of character.