The defense attorneys have filed a new motion in Yassin Aref’s case. We will hold a press conference about the new motion on Tuesday, December 3 at 11:00 AM at 280 Central Avenue, Albany, New York. This reply motion notes that Attorney General Eric Holder announced on November 15 that the DOJ will notify defendants––including those in past cases––if evidence derived from NSA surveillance was used in their cases.
The New York Times reported on January 17, 2006 that warrantless NSA surveillance was used in Aref’s case, but over the years Aref and his attorneys have not been able to obtain any more information about it, since the information was classified. A still-controversial part of Aref’s 2006 trial featured the government’s use of secret evidence, which to date has never been seen by the defense, the jury, or Aref himself. Defense attorneys believe that this secret evidence included NSA surveillance.
Aref’s attorneys expect DOJ to notify Aref that NSA evidence was used in his case, but Aref also has good reason to believe that the information derived from this NSA evidence is false. Aref’s 2255 appeal highlights new evidence that shows that as early as December 2002, the FBI thought he was an Al Qaeda agent named Mohammed Yasin. But an Al Qaeda agent named Mohammed Yasin was killed in Gaza in 2010, and thus could not have been Aref. Aref’s attorneys believe that the government falsely and secretly told both the trial court in Albany and the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City that Aref was part of Al Qaeda, and that this false information ensured both his conviction and denial of his original appeal in 2008.
Everyone is invited to attend the press conference which will explain the defense motion in detail.