Jordanian Student 'Not Guilty' in 9/11 Perjury Case
I first heard of this case Monday from Democracy Now's Amy Goodman who interviewed Osama Awadallah, the Jordanian student who was detained a few days after 9/11. After long hours of questioning and mistreatment over a couple of weeks, Awadallah was presented to a Grand Jury as a "material witness". When they asked him about his knowledge of one of the hijackers involved in the 9/11 attacks, Awadallah could not answer. He had, however, given the FBI all the information they asked for and answered all of their questions just days before. But one can imagine that after days in solitary confinement, questioning by four agents more than 8 hours at a time, someone might just not be ready to give testimony to a grand jury. He was then charged with perjury and was recently found not guilty on all 27 charges by the jury. This is an excerpt of the interview he had with Amy Goodman:
Read the full interview, watch it or listen to it here.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you have a lawyer present?
OSAMA AWADALLAH: No, I didn't have a lawyer. They told me it was going to be a short time, you don't need anyone to be with you. You're going to be fine. Just a few questions and then you will go home. I said that's fine. Remember, at that time, I'm 20 years old, you know? My English at that time was not like I'm speaking to you now. It's completely different. Its been only 2 years in the country, or year and a half...
AMY GOODMAN: Was there an Arabic speaker there?
OSAMA AWADALLAH: No. There wasn't an interpreter there, nor an Arabic speaker. They questioned me all day until 10:00, 11:00, midnight. And I was so exhausted I just wanted to go home. I even was going to answer whatever they wanted in order to just get home and rest. My family didn't know where I am. Everyone was worried. My community was looking for me. And I came at 11:00 and I went to my brother's and there, I told them what happened with me and the second day, the FBI. -- well, actually, on that day, on September 20th, they asked me that they want to come the next day to continue questioning me. I said I just said everything that you want, that I have. Why this other day? They said well there's a couple questions we need to verify. I said ok.
And the second day at 6:00 in the morning, they came to my apartment and I drove with them. I told them it was a Friday—Friday, the Friday service and I told them I had to catch my Friday service. So I hope this won't take much time. They said no, no problem. Then we went there. They started confronting me with things more, you know, in a more high-tone than the previous day and they start to jump on me, this time, there are four people asking me questions not like one. It's like you have a person there and you have four people asking you questions at the same time. So you have to answer. All this pressure and stress that you know, they came in and then at the end, they said you know what? I guess we’re going to go to New York right now. Right now, we’re going to put you on a plane and ship you to New York just--just like this. From there, continued, went to MCC Jail and then to Oklahoma—uh I think San Bernardino Sheriff Jail, then they took me to Oklahoma Jail and then ended up in New York. And until then, that's all that happened.