The Irvine 11 are finally set to go on trial this week after months of pre-trial hearings which began in March.   The courtroom was packed with media, fellow students of the University of California, and concerned community members of various organizations.  Despite the many attempts of the community, Irvine 11 campaign, and defense team to get the charges against the students dropped, the trial is still moving forward and has started this week with jury selection and is expected to last until the end of September.

Check out this previous MM post which gives a detailed account of the incident that brought the Irvine 11 into court.

During the pre-trial hearings, there were multiple attempts for the charges to be dropped against the Irvine 11.  The Orange County District Attorney's prosecution of these students is one that has been criticized as

  1. being unnecessary due to internal university disciplinary actions
  2. overly harsh and unprecedented
  3. targeting a Muslim minority
  4. having political motives

The defense team had tried to get the charges against the Irvine 11 dropped based on the alleged misconduct of the prosecution team in investigating the case and selective prosecution of these students based on their religious beliefs  among a few other bases.   The judge denied all motions to drop the charges.  The community also placed pressure on the DA's office to drop the charges against the Muslim students, many of the efforts headed up by the Irvine 11 campaign team.  From letter writing drives to petitions to demonstrations held outside the courthouse, the community was hoping that the DA would get the message and drop the charges or remove himself from the case so that it would advance to the state level.

Press Conference after one of the pre-trial hearings.

Another main focus of the pre-trial hearings was the ruling on status of the 4,800 documents that the prosecuting team attained in its investigation.  The judge's rulings were mixed, but many of them were favorable for the defense. Some of the documents were ruled as privileged and the judge kept the grand jury transcripts sealed.  There was also a gag order issued on both sides in order to protect the students, especially since this case has been receiving so much media attention.  Due to the prosecuting team's misconduct in obtaining, reviewing and using  the privileged documents which contained sensitive material, the lead investigator and three of the attorneys (including a lead attorney) were removed from the case, even though the defense team had been fighting to get the entire DA's office removed from the case due to misconduct.  One of the biggest victories for the Irvine 11 came from some of the documents being ruled as classified.  The charges have been tentatively dropped for one of the defendants and the “Irvine 11” has now become the “Irvine 10.”  This individual had an exceptional case from the rest of the 10 students, he did not interrupt the speech of the Ambassador and was merely pulled out of a crowd of chanting students who were walking out of the room.  Upon his completion of 40 hours of community service, Hakim Kebir will be free of all charges, insha'Allah.

Please keep the Irivne 11 in your du'a and please spread the word about their fight for free speech.  Check out the Irvine 11 campaign website: http://www.irvine11.com/and Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/Irvine11 for more updates as they come.  If you are in the LA area and are interested in attending part of the trial, check out the Irvine 11 website for more details. You can also support the Irvine 11 through donating to the Muslim Legal Fund of America.

Look for some more updates in the near future on MuslimMatters,  insha'Allah.

Irvine 11 supporters hold congregational Friday Prayer during the lunch break at the Santa Ana Courthouse on April 15th, khutbah and salah led by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda.

 

7 Responses

  1. Umm Sulaim

    I am lost for words; May Allah have Mercy on the 11 and their families.

    Aware of the discriminatory treatment meted out to Muslims, especially in the US, we need to look for other methods to display our disapproval of events. We need to keep backing away as much as possible, not from showing our disapproval, but from those who are after us; if standing up to voice discontent is prohibited for Muslims, let’s try keeping away from such events, so long as we do not prevent others from attending.

    When the organisers of such events do not see a Muslim attendee, they ought to get the point.

    Not a good day,
    Umm Sulaim

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  2. Kisuke Urahara

    Salaam,

    Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character, other than an assembly or meeting referred to in Section 302 of the Penal Code or Section 18340 of the Elections Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

    Unfortunately, they DID break the law as they willfully broke up his right to speak. If they were to protest outside the room and let him speak, that would have been fine—but they broke his right to that.
    iA they will be let off though with some community service or something of the sort.

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    • Meena Malik

      W/asa wrwb

      I wish you could attend the trial and I wish you had been at the event in person. The speaker was able to finish his speech COMPLETELY. The total amount of time that the 10 protesters took to shout out their statements was about 1 minute-1 minute and 30 seconds. The total amount of time that it took for the protesters to shout out, be escorted from the room, and the crowd (which would always erupt into jeers and cheers) was about 5 minutes in total. Out of an hour long speech, they took away 5 minutes at the most.

      There are a lot of things that I wish I could post on MM, giving out detailed info of what is truly going on with the 11, but I can only write so much. It’s very hard to give the full story and all of the information that is needed to fully comprehend what is going on. One thing I will say is that after having attended the trial on the day that they gave their opening statements, I found out SO MANY new things that I did not know before, sA, and as innocent as I thought these students were before, now I believe them to be even MORE innocent.

      I believe with the strongest conviction that what these students did wasn’t in any violation of CIVIL law and that they should not be tried in court. Any sort of disciplinary actions that were taken should have been confined to the university, because a university’s rules that govern a “meeting” are much different than the government’s laws, and it’s the university’s place to decide what they want to do with these students. That said, I do not agree with the university’s sanctions against these students and ESPECIALLY the sanctions against the MSU that led to a 1 quarter suspension and subsequent 2 year probation.

      This is a HUGE case not only for Muslims, but for students and all Americans. I pray that everyone keeps these students in their dua and that we ask Allah for His Justice to prevail.

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  3. Umm Yaseen Monge

    Salaams!

    I went to UCI in 95-2000 and I just had a hard time dealing with the lack of diversity on campus and off campus. I remember the Irvine cops being very anal, questioning latino students if they were smoking ‘peete’ when issuing jay-waliking tickets. I’m not surprised they got charged. If it was a group of white kids protesting from the ‘green-party’ this wouldn’t have happened…

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  4. EK

    I did not support criminal charges being filed.

    However, I think the students were wrong to try to prevent Michael Oren from presenting his lecture and wrong to try to prevent the audience from hearing the lecture. The students were also wrong to misrepresent their role to the University. I condemn the actions of these students. They should have protested outside the lecture hall.

    The University should have disciplined the students and that matter should have been dropped.

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