[UPDATED with Responses:] Irvine 11 Verdict: Guilty

Categories: Breaking News
7-of-the-irvine-11_200.jpg
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
See updates at the end of this post. 

ORIGINAL POST, SEPT 23, 12:04 P.M.: Cries and wails erupted in the Santa Ana courtroom as the verdict was read. All 10 defendants in the Irvine 11 case have been found guilty of ​disturbing a public meeting and engaging in a conspiracy to do so. 

Several people immediately bolted out the door, murmuring, "No justice, no justice." About 10 armed security guards lined the room. 

Mohamed Mohy-Eldeen AbdelganyKhalid Gahgat AkariAslam Abbasi AkhtarJoseph Tamim HaiderTaher Mutaz HerzallahShaheen Waleed NassarMohammad Uns QureashiAli Mohammad SayeedOsama Ahmen Shabaik and Asaad Mohamedidris Traina face up to a year in jail. 

The case centers on a Feb. 8, 2010 incident. During a speech by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren held at and sponsored by UC Irvine, members of the Muslim Student Union (MSU) stood up one after another and shouted scripted messages relating to the 2009 war on Gaza ("You, sir, are an accomplice to genocide!" "Murder is not free speech!") before being escorted out by police. 

"One word: unbelievable," said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, after the verdict was announced. "I feel that a part of America has died today."

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas was present for the reading.   


UPDATE, SEPT. 23, 2:44 P.M.: All 10 defendants have been sentenced to three years of informal probation, along with 56 hours of community service. If they complete the community service hours within one year, by Sept. 24, 2012, the probation period will be reduced to one year.

Judge Peter Wilson told the court that since the students had clean records and the disruption was "motivated by beliefs" and "not for the sake of disruption," imprisonment was not warranted. 

UPDATE, SEPT. 23, 5:58 P.M.: Outside the courthouse, the defendants gathered for a press conference, where they were finally able to speak about the case. 

Shaheen Nassar, a 21-year-old student from UC Riverside, said he "respects the court's the decision," but also wanted to express "how proud I am of my actions." 

Two of his cousins died in the 2009 attack on Gaza, which he said prompted him to speak out on that February 2010 evening.

Even after facing legal issues, he said, "I'm inspired to do more." 

His father, Waleed Nassar, called the trial "fair."    

"They did something they felt was their right and the district attorney thought they overstepped their right," the elder Nassar said. "We have to obey the judgment system."  

Defense attorneys said they will appeal the court's decision, but Waleed Nassar doesn't wish to take the next step, explaining, "They should focus on school and becoming leaders in the community. These are the next Congressmen." 

Attorney Lisa Holder said the defendants "serve as an example for young people," adding that they "stood up in a world that has become apathetic."   

Community members are already volunteering to do community service alongside the Irvine 11, attorney Dan Mayfield announced.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California put out a statement saying it is "deeply troubled" by the criminal conviction. "Even if protests on college campuses occasionally cross a line from protected speech into conduct, prosecutors cannot selectively intervene to punish students who say things they do not like," the statement said. 

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas instead called the UC Irvine incident "censorship by a few."  

"Today, an Orange County jury sent a strong message that First Amendment rights belong to every American and we will not tolerate a small band of people who want to hijack our freedoms," he said in a statement.  
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freedomadvocate
freedomadvocate

All citizens of this country have a right to free speech. Even the Israeli visitor should be afforded the right to speak freely if we invited him. To disrupt is disrespectful to those who came to listen and learn another side of an issue. Unfortunately, when that right is taken away by an opposing group, those who came to listen may be dissuaded from even looking at the other side, thus, countering the original intention of the disrupters.And, on another note, when these men speak of justice, we DO have a justice system. If I had pulled any of those antics in their countries, I would have been imprisoned as the least form of punishment. I know. I've lived there. So, I can honestly say, if you don't like it here, leave. And, if these displays of disrespect continue and threats are made, I feel we, as a country should seriously consider abandoning visas to all foreign students. Yes, all. In order to not single out just one group, that's what would have to happen. Of course then it would be more than apparent as to why this would be happening and there could be more negative focus for those who are trying to keep our American liberties free speech at bay. Express yourself, but please do not threaten. It's beyond offensive, It's simply unacceptable.

Orange county property
Orange county property

Hello, Congratulations on being on the front page! It’s best to think ahead from as early as possible when preparing these tactics of course– it can be a real nightmare to pick apart a model and add support structures or cut it apart. 

Don Mateo
Don Mateo

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honour"; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't "believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and Shari'a law tells them to.      I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia, New Zealand, UK, America and Canada, while no one from these countries are allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other Arab country to teach love and tolerance..

JewDaddy
JewDaddy

dont mess with jews bitches.. Jew Life!

Jeff Klives
Jeff Klives

Shouting down a speaker is not activism. Standing outside with prepared materials on your criticisms of the speaker to hand out is activism.

Working to bring a pro-Palestinian speaker to campus at a later date to share their perspective is activism.

Posting a rebuttal to the speaker’s points after the fact is activism.

If this group had engaged in real activism, they could have enhanced the academic experience of our public universities instead of undermining it.

rickabrams
rickabrams

One factor that may have played a role in the DA's strong reaction is that the terrorists tend to be Muslim and thousands upon thousands of rockets came from Gaza into Israeli towns after the Israelis completely withdrew from Gaza.  Was the same anti-semtism starting up in OC?  Who can see into the future?

With this back drop, the OC DA may have felt the need to react more strongly than he would have with a group of Quakers. (Have quakers ever disrupted anyone else's meeting?)

Without regard to the specifics of the dispute, it is good that these students spoke up and if they took up some time before the Israeli ambassador could continue, so what?   We Jews are a talkative bunch, so we can withstand this sort of demonstration. 

I think that it would be wise for the protesters to also ask what role the thousands of missiles from Gaza played in the Israeli action.

Loa
Loa

These terrible people deserved to be fined and also to be barred from attending similar events at the University. They refuse to let an opposing view to be heard. That leads to facism. These fanatics do not understand the simplest concept regarding freedom of speech. The vast majority of Americams barely tolerate this kind of behavior. They only hurt their own cause by trying to bully anyone that they disagree with. They should take their anti sematic hatred and go back to the hellholes that they escaped from.

asmalg
asmalg

See!!! The hate in your heart  is the one speekingI am not talking about all amirecan, among them  are my best freinds I go to university, and work with them. I love all of them even if they have a diffrent belief.  By that said I am talking about you as an individual, so don't make up thing and say what I am not saying.   I don't think the bible or jesus tought you to hate others. a person like your self call this beutifull country as a  land of the Great Satan ( this is SOOOO sad) are you telling me that the bible tought that, I don't think so because I read the bible my self.And just if you know ( which I don't think so), The QURAN that you talking about is the one tought me to love jesus and the great MARRY, to do good for  others if they need even to a person like you who his job is to hate and talk about others with out  knowing anything!!! And to let you know, I do thank God for what he give me all the time;  but it is sad to see a humen like your self full of hate and speak as he is american.  

Palmala Handerson
Palmala Handerson

dude... proof-read, you dillute your statement with poor grammar.

asmalg
asmalg

is that all what you can say( just the grammer!!!!) sad....

READ THIS may be you can learn

Statement from Jewish Voice for Peace National:This is a shameful day for the legal system and a shameful day for the Jewish communal leaders who actively supported this unfair railroading of young Muslim students and unprecedented attack on free speech.We hope it prompts some real soul searching among the communal Jewish leaders who actively supported the case against the Irvine students simply because they didn’t like what the students had to say about Israel’s human rights record.The principle of free expression for even unpopular speech, as it applies to all people, is fundamental to democracy. And frankly, as a religious and ethnic minority who was once a largely young immigrant population, Jews of all people should understand this. It is never, ever okay to allow or support the unjust targeting of a minority group—which is what happened here.Statement from JVP-LA:This judgement shows that the legal system in the United States is separate and unequal.If you are young and Jewish, you can make a deeply felt moral point about Israeli policies by interrupting the Prime Minister of Israel during a speech – as young members of Jewish Voice for Peace did almost one year ago – instead of getting a slap on the wrist or criminal charges, you will be hailed as heros by many and will provoke much serious soul searching on the pages of newspapers and websites world wide.  Which, after all, is the goal of such an action.But if you are young and Muslim, and you make a deeply felt moral point about Israeli policies by interrupting the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, you will not be hailed as heroes of taken seriously enough to prompt soul searching over highly controversial Israeli policies.  Instead you will be handcuffed, processed, condemned, subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury and charged as criminals.  Instead you and all like you will be sent a message that YOUR right to free speech is conditional.The difference is stark and shocking and should concern all Americans who care about the basic right to free speech and protest of public figures and public policy.We will fight on.

Jeff Klives
Jeff Klives

"YOUR right to free speech is conditional."

This is true.  There are time, place and manner restrictions associated with the First Admendment. 

If these kids were protesting outside in a free speech area and were penalized by the school or the DA, I would be angry at the university and DA.

Reaonable people can debate if university discipline of the students would have been sufficient, and they should not have been criminally prosecuted.  Reasonable people can disagree about the right sort or degree of punishment due in this case.  But the students were wrong to try to prevent a speaker from being heard in a lecture hall.   They were not engaged in protected rights of free speech.

Jeff Klives
Jeff Klives

Re:  Statement from JVP-LA:This judgement shows that the legal system in the United States is separate and unequal.

They were charged under Penal code § 403 dictates that anyone who “willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly … not unlawful in its character … is guilty of a misdemeanor,” that the offenders must have “substantially impaired the conduct of the meeting,” and do not have to engage in violent or dangerous behavior in order to be charged.

They were not charged for the content of their yelling.

Jeff Klives
Jeff Klives

Statement from Jewish Voice for Peace National:"The principle of free expression for even unpopular speech, as it applies to all people, is fundamental to democracy."

This is why what the students did was wrong.  The students thought a certain viewpoint should not have the privellege of being heard on the campus.

  

geoff kl
geoff kl

"these are the next congressmen"

not if i have anything to say about it

Boboorozco
Boboorozco

would these students defend my right to publish inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad?  Last time that happened, a death fatwah was issued.

Dan C
Dan C

"About 10 armed security guards lined the room. "

Yep, with a lot of "religion of peace" people attending you better a lot of armed security guards present.

PatrickR
PatrickR

Dan, if you think Islam and it's followers are a religion of peace, then you are right where CAIR wants you to be.  Granted, majority of Muslims in America today are non-violent in actions, but condone what the radical elements of their religon do.  Add to that their total dedication to Islam including, belief that their Iman's speak on behalf of Allah, and the problem compounds.  Finally, look at the Islamic countries around the world and there isn't one where rights and freedom are practiced.  You see Sharia Law applied in barbaric proportions and it isn't a pretty picture.  If these pampered American wantabees were to spend some time in such an environment, they might just open their eyes and look beyond the tip of their noses?  

On the guards, I guess you could ask yourself a question.  Which of two scenarios would you rather have?  One, a strong show of authority to deter thoughts of outbursts from the crowd or two, no show of authority, an outburst of emotion from the audience resulting in property damage and/or injuries to innocent people.  As for myself, I would have gone with the preventive option as did the Sheriffs Department.           

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

The people are tired of this kind of Muslim crap!......Now they have a record. That will last a long, long time!

To2g90
To2g90

However uncool it may be to say this.....this was NOT an isolated event: UCI's Muslim Student Union constantly interrupted speeches for 10 years.  In democracy, people have the right to express opposing viewpoints: the MSU has refused to respect the rights of anyone who disagrees with them.  Since the politics they preach are fueled by their radical theology - not logic - the MSU generally prefers getting dozens of people together to disrupt and hiss at speakers they disagree with, instead of...hmmm, maybe presenting a speaker with a counter argument?  Here's a lesson in logic to the "Irvine 11": the validity of your argument isn't based on how loud you yell. 

asmalg
asmalg

OHHHH!!!What strange is this world we live in ???Putting kids that protested in their university in court,  and letting the people that kill 100000….. of people free!!!And for the one that say deport them, this kids are American and you can’t deport them any where so die in you hate

mperez
mperez

dude do you see the irony of these girls mocking our justice system when they would be drawn and quartered with cables and white Toyota trucks ( or whatever the F the fraud that is the Qu'uran prescribes) in any real Muslim nation for the ankles they almost certainly have exposed living in this decidedly NOT Shah'riah society?

Look, Read the Koran OK?  I assume you reflexively invoke Hitler for the killing of millions of jews blah.....as an example of evil.  Muhammad INVENTED anti-semitism if not genocide.

Get with the friggin reality pal!  Enough with the moronic first year college leftism!  It's DEAD!

asmalg
asmalg

you are just so ignorant and hate live in your heart.wake up, this socaity and law that you are talking about is my system tooI just want to know where did you come from, dont you have TV and know that muslim live in this land more than you lived????Any way MY HOLLY BOOK WILL SATY ALWAYS HOLLY EVEN THOUGH A PERSON LIKE YOU WHO LIVE IN DARKNESS OF HATE  WILL NEVER SEE THAT, THAT BOOK YOU TALKING ABOUT IS THE LIGHT OF OUR LIFE. 

PatrickR
PatrickR

as, through your broken English one can logically deduct that you are not a native born American.  My question, speaking strictly as an Infidel is, "if Islam is so great and the light of your life, what the hell are you doing in the land of the Great Satan?" 

Sorry to pop your bubble, but very few Americans live in darkness and hate.  Frankly speaking however, we do about as good of a job following the teachings of the Christain Bible as you Muslims do following the teachings of Islam.  If it were a perfect world where each of us followed the teachings of God, then there would be peace and light in all our lives.  Unfortunately, the Garden of Eden is ancient history and until Jesus returns in the second coming, the picture doesnt look too bright.  However, it is brighter here than in the Islamic countries, so be thankful you are where you are and get on with your life.

P.S. your little pipe dream about Islam taking over the United States holds about as much water as the theory of all those virgins awaiting the radical terrorist members of your faith on the other side.   

909Jeff
909Jeff

SANTA ANA – A jury Friday found 10 Muslim university students guilty of disrupting a speech by an Israeli diplomat at UC Irvine last year, in a case that focused on free speech.Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson sentenced each student to three years of probation, which would be cut to a year if each completes 56 hours of community service by Jan. 31. He also ordered them to pay $270 in fines. Wilson said jail time was not warranted because evidence showed the students were "motivated by their beliefs and did not disrupt for the sake of disrupting."

Shady
Shady

The ignorance, racism and bigotry in this comments section is far greater than the ignorance, racism and bigotry that came from the verdict.

Meaning: We're all fucked.

s.m.
s.m.

could we apply this to tea party folks?  i mean i would like to see them sentenced to some community service for their idiotic heckling.

PatrickR
PatrickR

s.m., Guess I must have missed it but just where did the Tea Party people heckle someone's public meeting, especially llke the Muslims did?  By the way the Tea Party is already doing community service in big cities and small towns all over the United States.  Their service is in helping fuel the train, leaving the station as we speak and gradually picking up speed until it hits and knocks Obama and his closet Socialists back into the era of Karl Marx.  Sorry bub, but your fifteen minutes of fame ais almost over and done with, so enjoy it while you can.   

asmalg
asmalg

what do you mean ????

Daniel Heredia
Daniel Heredia

 The facts are you can't have your cake & eat it too. Rules are Rules & Laws are Laws. The declaration of independence & the u.s constitution were written with everyone in mind but, it didn't work out that way. Anyone want to make change, start from the bottom. You want to debate follow the rules and be civilized about it. Although, these young men personally had nothing to do with 9-11 their Religion and their rhetorical disruptions don't do them any favors. I'd rather see these groups do something positive for the benefit of everyone to solve problems rather then waste public dollars on"the death of democracy" . #11 played his cards right. Did the crime, did the time & is moving on. The 10 and their supporters don't love America, they use America to further the Muslim agenda. How would u like a Mosque built next door to your home?

asmalg
asmalg

They are Amirecan and they love this land ,                                                                  they did not do any thing wrong what they did is their right like any American.and what aganda are you talking about??????And I love to see a mocque built next to my house like I like a church to because both of them show poeple to be good and nice to each other

PatrickR
PatrickR

asmaig, you are as naive as the day is long.  A good number of the students from the Muslim Students Union are Exchange Students and are taking up space in our colleges and universities without being American citizens.  As such, they and even many of the native born Muslim students not only don't love the United States, they hate it with a passion.  Most of their contempt stems from you being a non-believer and an Infidel.  To cut to the chase, what Islam teaches about infidels is that either you convert, or forfeit your right to breath air on this planet (They kill you).  I would remind you that that Catholic or Baptist church next to your house is not staffed by a priest or minister who advocates either baptising you or cutting off your head.  A mosque on the other hand is a different kind of place.  While most are staffed by moderate Imans, many others are ruled by radical clerics who preach the extremist brands of Islam.  Since Muslims believe Imans sit at the right hand of Allah (God) and speak for him, they believe what these guys tell them.  I am not stereotyping all Muslims here, because the majority are law abiding, honest men and women who have a deep committment to their religon.  However, what Americans need to fear is the radical element and how it is growing in America.   Naive people like yourself need to get educated on the history, philosophy and practices of Islam, particularly in  Arab countries.  Islam isn't a religion of sitting around the campfire, holding hands and singing Kumbaya.  Better think about that before wishing for a Mosque next door.      

In a perfect world, everyone would be their brothers keeper and love would be the prevailing emotion.  However, this is America, not the Garden of Eden, and there aren't any perfect people here.  Better prepare yourself to deal with that philosophy. 

Shady
Shady

Yeah, because Christianity never killed ANYONE.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Make the Irvine 11 do their community service at the Irvine Dog Shelter -- SJC Councilman Derek Reeve.

Nah, I kid, I kid. 

Gorge Redfield
Gorge Redfield

This is what separates the U.S.A from the rest of the world

Mark Mollner
Mark Mollner

Jihad !!! J/k but no seriously do we really need to be concerned about repercussions ?The repayment of a bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and puts things right, his reward is with God. Certainly He does not love wrongdoers.? (Quran, 42:40) 

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

The following is a quote from an article on the event ([www.newuniversity.org]): "But it was UCI School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky’s perspective that explored the most important, non-partisan implications of the disruptions: whether the students who interrupted Ambassador Oren were within First Amendment protection making their voice heard. Chemerinsky weighed in on the issue during a lecture sponsored by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity and planned months before the Oren lecture. Chemerinsky noted first that free speech is only preserved in areas that are public forums – on campus, these include the sidewalk, or Ring Road, or the flagpoles. But within an enclosed space, specific to University policies, the University creates time, place and manner rules for which speech is allowed. The ambassador’s lecture, located inside the Student Center, was subject to these restrictions and did not allow all protections of speech accorded by the First Amendment. "You have the right – if you disagree with me – to go outside and perform your protest. But you don’t get the right to come in when I’m talking and shout me down. Otherwise people can always silence a speaker by heckler’s veto, and Babel results," Chemerinsky said." 

Pima
Pima

Lock up those parasites!!!

A Muslim American
A Muslim American

 If any of those who are so delighted by the outcome-  bothered to watch the video of what really happened, they did not stop his speech. Each of them said a statement from the audience protesting his speech, supporters cheered and they were all escorted peacefully out of the room. NO scuffles, no cameras knocked down, no life was threathened. Peaceful protest is what it was.That was the end of story.  The  Isreali ambassador conitued and completed his speech to the remainder of the audience.When he finished his speech, he left the podium, none of the young men remained in the room.  It is the clear injustice and simply the "crime" of  being a minority in this country, and not having the backing of  WELL FINANCED  lobby groups, is what got these students convicted. .   I am American linegage back 3 generations, and have kids raising them to be American Muslims- WE are NOT going anywhere. We are a real part of this country, and will continue to be.

I stand with the Irivine 11 and all those who peacefully protest oppression.

FOR ALL THOSE who seem to forget what the 5 FUNDAMENTAL FIRST AMMENDMENT RIGHTS are here is a link to refresh your memory...

http://www.illinoisfirstamendm...

PatrickR
PatrickR

You really sound more like one of the fools from CAIR, trying to spin the facts to twist whatever the negative impact of an incident might be.  You can rationalize until you are blue in the face, but most Americans aren't going to buy it.  Each of us clearly understands, we break the law and I then face the reprecussions.

While you say you stand with the Irvine11, it is a good thing you weren't standing with them on that day at UCI, or you too would have just been convicted of a crime.  Live and learn Muslim American, protest all you want, just do it lawfully. 

JeffKlives
JeffKlives

Not delighted but I think you are off.

Their own emails said their goal was to shutdown the lecture and prevent him from saying whatever he wanted on the campus.

They were wrong and were found guilty.  

Hopefully they learned a lesson that its  is not okay to plan and repeatedly interupt a lecture and move on with their lives.

Duncanfox21
Duncanfox21

I admire the courts decision, regardless of their statement they broke a law. Disregard the outcry from either side and find them guilty for a crime they did commit. Give them a minimal punishment, and avert a confrontation. They cannot possibly pass a strong punishment, as rightly so, others have pointed out- "no one has ever been prosicuted with this charge"  so its a win - win situation.

peaceloveunderstanding
peaceloveunderstanding

oc racists come out to comment on how happy they are at the verdict.... They somehow feel they are better people than these students.

PatrickR
PatrickR

peace, of course, why would we expect anything else from people like yourself.  When you can't logically and rationally explain an incident, where your folks screwed the pooch, out comes the race card, as the excuse of last resort.

This case has absolutely nothing to do with one person being better than another.  This issue is about a group of students who intentionally and with intent disrupted a public meeting.  This was a violation of the California Penal Code.  I believe that the Jury found them guilty of breaking the law and not of being a lesser person.  Bias is often in the eye of the beholder and you seem to fit that bill. 

mitch young
mitch young

In my experience, it it the people who love shouting 'racist' that are the moral preeners with an overdeveloped sense of their self-worth.

909Jeff
909Jeff

They committed a misdemeanor bottom line, Would I prefer they got a slap on the wrist and were made to pick up trash on the campus for a week, of course.  But unfortunately if you prosecute one misdemeanor you have to prosecute them all.  I hope at this point they get community service and thats it. 

peaceloveunderstanding
peaceloveunderstanding

does the crime fit the possible punishment? not by a long shot. so dissapointed in this. My heart goes out to these students.

junior
junior

The students ARE NOT going to do any time.

KellyLangleyWestphal
KellyLangleyWestphal

Not taking a side..but just want to point out that fundamentalist Christians point to the Bible when they killed doctors that provide abortions.  Every religion has nut cases.

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