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Must learnedly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor
|Posted Friday, February 8, 2008|
|Acquitted in a terror case, but since faces expulsion, man wants Bush administration to lend him its ears: "Deportation unjust"|
|By The Associated Press|
MIAMI: A man found innocent by a jury of terrorism conspiracy charges said Friday it was unfair for the Bush administration to deport him to Haiti on nearly identical accusations and denied ever posing a threat to the U.S. government.
|Charlene Mingo-Lemorin speaks to her husband Lyglenson Lemorin, who was found innocent by a jury of terrorism conspiracy accusations, Friday, Feb. 8, 2008 at his attorney's office in Miami. Speaking from an immigration detention center in Georgia, Lemorin told reporters that he is being treated unfairly by federal officials who want to send him back to his native Haiti. Six other members of the so-called Liberty City Seven are being tried a second time on charges of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)|
"I feel like I'm being treated unjustly," said Lyglenson Lemorin by telephone from a detention center in Lumpkin, Georgia. "I really feel I should be with my family. I was acquitted by a jury of my peers."
The interview with reporters from The Associated Press and two newspapers, organized by Lemorin's attorney Joel DeFabio, marked the first time Lemorin has spoken publicly since his June 2006 arrest. He and other members of the so-called "Liberty City Seven" were charged with plotting to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices in Miami and elsewhere.
Lemorin flatly denied being a terrorist, insisted he never opposed the U.S. government and harbors no sympathy for Islamic extremists such as al-Qaida.
"I'm no threat to the United States of America. I love this country. I would never be a threat," Lemorin said.
|Attorney Joel Defabio, left, and Charlene Mingo-Lemorin listen to her husband, Lyglenson Lemorin, who was found innocent by a jury of terrorism conspiracy accusations, speak to reporters via the phone Friday, Feb. 8, 2008 at Defabio's law office in Miami. Lemorin told reporters from an immigration detention center in Georgia that he is being treated unfairly by federal officials who want to send him back to his native Haiti. Six other members of the so-called Liberty City Seven are being tried a second time on charges of plotting to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)|
Lemorin was cleared of all four terror-related conspiracy charges on Dec. 13, but the next day he was transferred to the custody of federal immigration authorities and driven hundreds of miles (kilometers) away to Georgia. Much of the time he was handcuffed and shackled to a belly chain; he said his guards would not tell him where they were taking him or why.
"The way I'm being treated that's not the way the law is supposed to be," Lemorin said.
Jurors could not reach verdicts on the other six suspects and a mistrial was declared. Their second trial got under way last Friday, and Lemorin is likely to testify for the defense. Because of a partial gag order in that case, DeFabio would not allow Lemorin to answer some questions, such as why he took part in a ceremony videotaped by the FBI in which the group pledged loyalty to al-Qaida.
"I don't want the judge to find that a violation," DeFabio said.
Lemorin, 33, has lived legally in the U.S. since he was 11 but never became a citizen. Because he is still a Haitian national, the Bush administration can deport him using the same terrorism allegations because the immigration system is separated from federal criminal courts.
"You have the government essentially getting a second bite of the apple," said Charles Kuck, an Atlanta attorney representing Lemorin in the immigration case. "Obviously, the U.S. government does not like to lose criminal cases." U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials insist that Lemorin is being treated fairly.
"Mr. Lemorin, who is represented by counsel, will have due process under law. He will have the same opportunities afforded to any other person deemed to be in violation of U.S. immigration laws," said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez.
Joining the reporters in the interview was Charlene Mingo-Lemorin, who married Lemorin a month before his arrest but who has lived with him since 2004. She described him as interested in spiritual matters, finding ways to uplift Miami's impoverished Liberty City neighborhood and as a positive force in their three children's lives.
"The whole situation is just really weird," she said. "Even though the system is corrupt, I still have faith in the system. I also have faith in God."
Lemorin said he joined the group led by defendant Narseal Batiste because they were searching for ways to end the cycle of poverty, crime, drug use and despair that afflicts many inner-city neighborhoods. Batiste made similar claims when he testified in the first trial.
Batiste also testified in the first trial that he was never serious about any terrorist attacks and that he only went along in an attempt to con a man claiming to be an al Qaida operative out of $50,000.
Than man, who identified himself as Brother Mohammed, turned out to be an FBI informant. "The main thing was to have a community," Lemorin said. "That was my main goal when I got involved to help the people."
Lemorin said he has some family in Haiti but does not want to go back to the poverty-stricken nation. Yet he said he is not bitter about what has happened. "I try to keep a good attitude about everything.
I try not to stress about what's going on," he said.
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights|
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