About 200 Somalis, mainly women, converged on the Federal Building here, May 16, for the sentencing hearing of two Somali humanitarian workers. Amina Ali and Hawo Hassan were convicted of ‘material support for terrorism’ in October, 2011. Judge Michael J. Davis handed down a 20-year sentence for Amina Ali and a 10-year sentence for Hawo Hassan.
A statement from Somali Community Members In Minnesota stated, “Amina Ali and Hawo Hassan have great hearts. These women will go beyond their ability to help others. Both are highly respected by many in the Somali community. They have touched the lives of so many of us here in the Twin Cities… Amina Ali and Hawo Hassan are great humanitarian workers.” In front of the courthouse some supporters of Ali and Hassan carried small signs saying the two are heroes.
During the course of her trial Ali showed incredible courage. She was repeatedly charged with ‘contempt’ when she refused to stand for the judge due to her religious beliefs.
The two women, who lived in Rochester, Minnesota, collected clothing and raised money to help destitute people in their homeland. The prosecution claims that they helped al-Shabab, an Islamist organization that fights to free Somalia from foreign domination.
The May 16 sentencing of Ali and Hassan was the culmination of a week of outrageous federal sentencing hearings where a total of nine members of the Somali community were sent to prison.
Jess Sundin, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, was one of the anti-war activists who came to the Federal Building to support Ali and Hassan. “These two women have done nothing wrong and the prison sentences are nothing short of shameful. They are great people who have done wonderful things.”
Somali news leader