PRESS RELEASE: USA – The alarming case of Seyed Mahmood Mousavi


Islamic Human Rights Commission

24 April 2009

PRESS RELEASE: USA – The alarming case of Seyed Mahmood Mousavi

The case of American-Iranian national Seyed Mahmood Mousavi is indeed an alarming one. Recently transferred to a “medium security” terrorism unit, Mousavi has been effectively branded by the government and prison system as a terrorist, in spite of him never being formally charged with or convicted of any terrorism-related offences.

Early-on in the case, federal prosecutors offered unsubstantiated material and \”secret evidence” to suggest terrorism, which saw Mousavi’s home, business and place of worship raided at gunpoint by the FBI, and left him in jail without bail for over a year before his trial. On 14 October 2008, Mousavi was sentenced to 33 months in prison for filing false tax returns, omitting group membership on naturalization forms, and violating the U.S. economic embargo against Iran. However, several translated documents offered by prosecution as court exhibits have been suggested by expert witnesses as being flawed. Amongst the numerous examples of mistranslations: one document presented the Farsi words for “police department” to say “military”; another document affirming Mousavi’s janbaz (‘disabled/war-victim’) status and eligibility to receive benefits was presented as evidence suggesting his affiliation to the military, while several expert witnesses affirmed this status was awarded to military and civilians alike and is no way indicative of a military affiliation. Unfortunately, the baseless terrorist-stigma which the government attached to Mousavi remains with him.

On 8 January 2009, Mousavi was transferred to America’s “Muslim-only prison”; the Communication Management Unit (CMU) at Terre Haute, Indiana. As Katherine Hughes reported, all of the 45 prisoners at CMU, a “medium security” terrorism unit, currently houses are either Muslim or Arab, while the federal facility is to eventually hold an estimated 85 inmates[1]. Prisoners at CMU are under especially tight restrictions, including no contact visits, only two 2-hour visitations per month from behind a glass by immediate family members, and the monitoring and copying of all outgoing and incoming mail.

Far from being the terrorist federal prosecutors presented him as, Mousavi is a decent family man who “dedicated his life to education and to emphasizing the importance of peace and non-violence in the Muslim community”, as is exemplified by the work of the charitable foundation he established. In America’s turbulent climate, Stephen Lendman was quite right to say Mousavi is mostly “guilty of being Muslim”[2].

For more information on Seyed Mousavi’s case, please visit, or contact the IHRC Press Office on (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 07515 029 560, email:[ENDS]


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