- The Washington Times - Monday, October 24, 2005


A federal judge ruled yesterday that prosecutors can use the confession of a Falls Church man charged with joining al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush, despite defense claims that the confession was obtained through torture by Saudi Arabian interrogators.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee issued a one-page ruling late yesterday, saying he would explain his rationale in a forthcoming order.

The ruling came after a six-day hearing in Alexandria in which Ahmed Omar Abu Ali testified that the Saudi security force known as the Mubahith whipped his back, kicked him in the stomach and pulled on his beard to obtain a confession.

Abu Ali’s lawyers had sought to have the confession tossed out and the entire case dismissed. But Judge Lee’s ruling means that the trial will go forward this week, with jury selection today and opening statements as early as Thursday.

Defense attorneys cannot appeal the ruling until after the trial.

Prosecutors said Abu Ali’s confession was voluntary. They cited a 13-minute videotaped confession in which he ad-libbed jokes and pantomimed the use of an assault rifle.

Abu Ali, 24, who in 1999 was valedictorian at an Islamic high school in Northern Virginia, is charged in a nine-count indictment with conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy, providing material support to al Qaeda and other crimes. He faces life in prison if convicted.

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