Give freedom to Seyed Mahmood Mousavi.

In June 2006, the home of Seyed Mahmood Mousavi, an American citizen, was raided at gunpoint by the FBI and the IRS. At the same time, the Al-Nabi Mosque, a non-profit religious, charitable, and religious organization of which Mr. Mousavi is president, was also raided. From both locations, documents, computers, and other items were taken.

In the weeks following, people who frequent the Al-Nabi Mosque were questioned by FBI agents. Although the agents claimed they believed that Mr. Mousavi had failed to report income for tax purposes, the questioning did not focus on money issues. Rather, the questioning was in relation to Mr. Mousavi’s perceived political stances, alleged connections to the Iranian government, and the possible political outlook of some religious scholars who had visited the mosque to give lectures. Agents implied to many that the mosque was “dangerous.” Although the FBI agents were assured that there was nothing of a dangerous nature taking place in the mosque, and that it was a place where people gather for religious and cultural reasons only, the agents did not desist.

During the year following the raid, Mr. Mousavi’s attorney was in frequent contact with the federal prosocuters concerning this matter. During this time, Mr. Mousavi traveled out of the country several times for business or personal reasons. Before leaving each time, Mr. Mousavi had his lawyer request and receive permission from the appropriate authorities. The business to which Mr. Mousavi was attending was the Hajj trip, a religious pilgrimage, which he organizes each year. This required multiple trips to Saudi Arabia in order to make necessary arrangements. Mr. Mousavi also made stops in Iran, his place of birth, visiting relatives and arranging for religious scholars to visit the U.S. to give religious lectures at the mosque.

On August 31, 2007, Mr. Mousavi was arrested by Federal agents upon leaving Al-Nabi Mosque after an early morning prayer session, despite the fact that Mr. Mousavi’s lawyer had been assured that he would be given the opportunity to turn himself in should the government decide to bring charges against him.

Mr. Mousavi has been charged with failure to report income for tax purposes, which is untrue. He has also been charged, under the “IEEPA," with giving consulting services to a foreign company who wished to do business with Iran. This, however is also a false charge because Mr. Mousavi did not do business with the company in question, nor did the company do business with Iran. He has also been charged with lying on his citizenship application concerning alleged previous service in the Iranian military. However, Mr. Mousavi never served in the Iranian military; he was officially excused from military service due to severe injuries he received as a civilian.

The charges that Mr. Mousavi faces are quite defensible. Mr. Mousavi needs to be able to gather evidence to prove his innocence, since, indeed, a person must actually prove that he is not guilty as charged. Many of the original documents are not in English, and have been translated by the FBI and/or the prosecution team. Each document must be inspected carefully to be sure that the translations are correct. This is in question since the FBI agents have shown some documents to people, making false claims about content. The prosecutors have buried the defense in an initial 15,000 pages of documents, and has promised several boxes more. Even the judge in the case repeatedly expressed that this is an extraordinary and unreasonable number of pages to be given as “discovery.” Given these facts, time and freedom to pursue defense is of the utmost importance.

1. Seyed Mahmood Mousavi is innocent.