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A Hero's Welcome: Sayed Mousavi Released from Prison Print E-mail
Written by Staff   
Tuesday, 16 February 2010 06:04

WEST COVINA - With just his presence at the Al Nabi mosque Tuesday night, Seyed Mousavi moved people to tears. His lanky figure, standing in the main hallway of the mosque he helped build, caused a throng of veiled women to erupt in tears. Tissues circulated the prayer room packed with nearly 200 people when he spoke.

Seyed Mousavi, left, hugs and kisses a fellow
mosque member during his welcome-home party at the Al Nabi mosque in
West Covina on Tuesday night, January 26, 2010. Mousavi, 51, was
released Monday after 29 months in a federal prison after being
convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting information on
naturalization forms and violating an economic embargo against Iran.
Members of the mosque said Mousavi was sent away on trumped up charges
and was accused of funding terrorism. (SGVN/Staff photo by Watchara
Phomicinda)

 

Mousavi, 51, who was released Monday after 29 months in a federal prison, was home.


Family and friends threw him a party at the mosque, replete with prayers, food and memories.


"It was like there was a big, gaping hole in our community when he was gone," said family friend Zainab Rasouli.


In October 2008, the Diamond Bar man was convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting information on naturalization forms and violating an economic embargo against Iran.


Some friends still believe the charges were baseless and Mousavi was targeted because of his religion. But after being released on good behavior four months short of his 33-month sentence, he said, Mousavi didn't sound like an angry man on Tuesday.


"It happened, it happened," Mousavi said of his conviction and prison time.


Mousavi is appealing the convictions. The oral arguments are scheduled for March 1 in Pasadena.


His lawyer, San Francisco-based appeals attorney George Harris, thinks there's a strong argument to clear Mousavi's record.


"I think there was not a proper basis for any of the convictions," he said. "In some instances, we say there was a lack of proof to meet the legal standard."


[...]


Mousavi said he had told his family little about what happened in the Communication Management Unit of a secretive federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

 

Spying on mosque

Craig Monteilh, who says he spied on area mosques including Al Nabi for the FBI as part of a counterterrorism operation, claims that some of his surveillance led to Mousavi's arrest.


Monteilh, a former West Covina resident who is suing the FBI, said he collected license plates from the mosque's parking lot.


Mosque attendees and Mousavi's lawyers claim they did not know Monteilh, nor had they seen him around the mosque.


[...]


Cell so small he could not kneel to pray

Reminiscing Tuesday night, standing outside the prayer room, Mousavi said his cell was so small he couldn't really kneel to pray. Prison officials didn't let him and others pray in a group, he said.


But family and friends cure all.


"With the support they give me feeling to forget the hard times," Mousavi said.


Some in attendance at the mosque declined to comment, citing fears of retaliation and harassment if they were identified publicly.


Rasouli, like others, still believes Mousavi was targeted based on his religion.


"For us it feels like him as a person was being attacked but also the whole mosque and the community was being attacked," Rasouli said.


Mousavi wasn't convicted of any terrorism-related charges.

 

Dressed in a pink shirt, blue sweater and gray suit, Mousavi kneeled for prayers, tears coming down his face. As he began to speak before the packed prayer room in Farsi, he choked up.


His daughter, Zeinab Mousavi, also couldn't hold back Tuesday. Since his return, she said she hadn't cried. But seeing all the familiar faces united with her dad, the tears started.


"When I saw people that were very supportive, I remembered those bad days, staying up crying and praying," she said.


Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/rds_search/ci_14307085?IADID=Search-www.sgvtribune.com-www.sgvtribune.com#ixzz0ffyxU2Er

WEST COVINA - With just his presence at the Al Nabi mosque Tuesday night, Seyed Mousavi moved people to tears.

His lanky figure, standing in the main hallway of the mosque he helped build, caused a throng of veiled women to erupt in tears.

Tissues circulated the prayer room packed with nearly 200 people when he spoke.

Mousavi, 51, who was released Monday after 29 months in a federal prison, was home.

Family and friends threw him a party at the mosque, replete with prayers, food and memories.

"It was like there was a big, gaping hole in our community when he was gone," said family friend Zainab Rasouli.

In October 2008, the Diamond Bar man was convicted of filing false tax returns, omitting information on naturalization forms and violating an economic embargo against Iran.

Some friends still believe the charges were baseless and Mousavi was targeted because of his religion. But after being released on good behavior four months short of his 33-month sentence, he said, Mousavi didn't sound like an angry man on Tuesday.

"It happened, it happened," Mousavi said of his conviction and prison time.

Mousavi is appealing the convictions. The oral arguments are scheduled for March 1 in Pasadena.

His lawyer, San Francisco-based appeals attorney George Harris, thinks there's a strong argument to clear Mousavi's record.

"I think there was not a proper basis for any of the convictions," he said. "In some instances, we say there was a lack of proof to meet the legal standard."

Federal prosecutors couldn't say much Friday about the ongoing case.

"There's not a lot I can say about that case ... it's still pending," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan DeWitt in a voice-mail message.

On Tuesday, Mousavi barely acknowledged the legal challenge. He has made few public comments about his life over the past 2 1/2 years.

Mousavi said he had told his family little about what happened in the Communication Management Unit of a secretive federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

Craig Monteilh, who says he spied on area mosques including Al Nabi for the FBI as part of a counterterrorism operation, claims that some of his surveillance led to Mousavi's arrest.

Monteilh, a former West Covina resident who is suing the FBI, said he collected license plates from the mosque's parking lot.

Mosque attendees and Mousavi's lawyers claim they did not know Monteilh, nor had they seen him around the mosque.

In his first night at home, Mousavi slept three hours because of a constant barrage of phone calls from friends. Even strangers he didn't know, who had written to him in prison, called to say hello, he said.

Reminiscing Tuesday night, standing outside the prayer room, Mousavi said his cell was so small he couldn't really kneel to pray. Prison officials didn't let him and others pray in a group, he said.

But family and friends cure all.

Photo Gallery

A Hero's Welcome Home
(SGVN/Staff Photo by Watchara Phomicinda)

"With the support they give me feeling to forget the hard times," Mousavi said.

Some in attendance at the mosque declined to comment, citing fears of retaliation and harassment if they were identified publicly.

Rasouli, like others, still believes Mousavi was targeted based on his religion.

"For us it feels like him as a person was being attacked but also the whole mosque and the community was being attacked," Rasouli said.

Mousavi wasn't convicted of any terrorism-related charges.

Dressed in a pink shirt, blue sweater and gray suit, Mousavi kneeled for prayers, tears coming down his face. As he began to speak before the packed prayer room in Farsi, he choked up.

His daughter, Zeinab Mousavi, also couldn't hold back Tuesday. Since his return, she said she hadn't cried. But seeing all the familiar faces united with her dad, the tears started.

"When I saw people that were very supportive, I remembered those bad days, staying up crying and praying," she said.

 

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Quote
 
 
-1 #1 Laila 2010-06-23 00:34
I am so glad your back , I am so sorry that happen to you . you should know this better than any one God always in your side. the peace & love i saw in your eyes,only God gift to you. I wish you the best and want you to be very happy in life. Love
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