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Contempt charges thrown out against Somali woman

Monday, June 04, 2012

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal appeals court has thrown out 19 of the 20 contempt-of-court citations against a Rochester woman convicted of funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia.

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the first contempt charge against Amina Farah Ali, who refused to stand for the judge and jury in the early stages of her trial last October, saying her Muslim religion prohibited her from standing.

But the three-judge panel vacated all the subsequent contempt counts and sent the case back to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis for further proceedings.

The appeals court says the judge ruled only on First Amendment grounds, and failed to consider a separate federal law protecting religious freedom.

Ali and a co-defendant are still awaiting sentencing on terrorism-related charges.



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