CAIR, NLG Ask UCI, DA to Drop Charges Against ' Irvine 11'

Anaheim , CA: The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) and the Los Angeles office of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-LA) sent a letter Friday to University of California, Irvine (UCI) Chancellor Michael V. Drake urging him to drop charges against 11 students who peacefully protested at a UCI-sponsored event. A letter was also sent to the Orange County District Attorney's office by CAIR-LA.
Earlier, the students spoke out during the speech of the Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren at the event, which was also co-sponsored by the UCI School of Law and by the university's political science department. The students, since dubbed the " Irvine 11," left in a voluntary and peaceful manner and were then detained briefly and cited by UCI police officers.
In a letter sent to the university administration, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush and NLG-LA Executive Director James Lafferty stated in part:
"...the right to freely express one's opinions is a most sacred freedom protected by our Constitution, finding college campuses to be its most cultivating venue. Civil protest against government abuses is a time-honored tradition that has led to the end of apartheid and the birth of civil rights. ...”

In the letter to the district attorney's office, Ayloush stated in part:
"The selective application of laws by off-campus law enforcement agencies to students engaged in constitutionally-protected political speech will be viewed by the American Muslim community and those who value free speech as an attempt to repress legitimate student protest and will undermine this important First Amendment Right."
The letters to the university administration and the district attorney's office urged that the "charges and disciplinary actions against the students involved be dropped."



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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