Monday, January 16, 2006

Guilt by Association?

You may have read the piece in The Washington Post today about the conviction of Mohammed Yousry, a translator and U.S. citizen, on charges of "supporting terrorism." Mr. Yousry is currently a doctoral student at New York University. What was his crime? Translating a letter from imprisoned Muslim cleric Omar Abdel Rahman. Apart from the fact that indicting, and convicting, those whose vocation is to work with the written word sets a dangerous precedent, one need also examine the underlying premise here.

As it happens, Mr. Yousry works with radical lawyer, Lynne Stewart, who herself faced conviction last year for, among other things, supporting "armed revolution." It seems that, more than anything, this translator, and American citizen, is guilty more by association than by deed and, if this is the case, one wonders should the perjury, conspiracy, and other felony charges for which Scooter Libby was indicted lead to his conviction, whether the vice-president will be visited by the same prosecution as his one-time aide?

After all, fair is fair, and guilt by association should work equally well on both sides of the equation, no?