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"Portland 6" convict appeals his sentence Monday, December 04, 2006

(left) Kent Ford pickets the Pioneer Courthouse in downtown Portland on Dec. 4, 2006. His son, Patrice Lumumba Ford, received an 18-year sentence in 2003 when he pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. On Monday, the Federal Appeals Court for the Ninth Circuit reviewed that sentence on the grounds that the wrong basis was used in determining its length.

During the summer of 2001, Portland native Patrice Lumumba Ford and others took martial arts training to prepare themselves to "fight a violent jihad in Afghanistan or in another location at som
e point in the future."

Following the September 11 attacks, Ford bought a shotgun and twice went shooting in a gravel pit in Washougal, Wash., with some friends.

After the U.S. started fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, Ford and five others (the so-called "Portland 6") planned to travel to Afghanistan to fight the U.S. forces. They flew to China on Oct. 20, 2001, intending to pas
s from there into Afghanistan via Pakistan. They tried several times to enter Pakistan, but were unable to do so. Ford returned to the U.S. in November.

This is what he admitted to in a plea bargain in October 2003.

At the time, Ford had been in prison for over a year and was facing 70 years for various terrorism-related charges. In the deal, he pleaded guilty to "seditious conspiracy" and received an 18-year sentence.

The Department of Justice heralded the convictions of Ford and his co-defendants as a major victory in the war on terror.

"But," says his father Kent Ford, "there's nothing there. There's just nothing there." Kent says his son and the others were going to Afghanistan to help at refugee camps.

That was the sentiment among many of the 30 or so people who gathered to voice support for Patrice Lumumba Ford outside the Pioneer Courthouse in Portland on Monday morning, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard a review of Lumumba's sentence.

Lumumba's new lawyer, Shaun McCrea (right), argued that his sentence should be reduced because the length was determined on the wrong basis.

But reporters who were inside the packed courtroom said it didn't go well for the plaintiff. "They got creamed," said one.

Nevertheless, McCrea was cautiously optimistic. "
I had a good time arguing. I think I'm right. But sometimes just because you're right, doesn't mean you win," she told reporters outside the courthouse.

Kent Ford says the government "picked on [his son] because he's muslim."

Another man who has made the same accusation appeared briefly at the rally this morning. Brandon Mayfield (left) was held and questioned for two weeks in 2004 in connection with a terrorist bombing in Spain after authorities mistakenly identified a fingerprint on a bag of detonators. Last Wednesday (Nov. 29), Mayfield received an official apology and $2-million settlement from the government in that case.

The court is not expected to release its decision on Ford's appeal for several weeks. Meanwhile, Ford is incarcerated in Victorville federal prison in California.

Kent Ford (center) smiles with supporters in front of the Pioneer Courthouse after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard a review of his son's sentence on Dec. 4, 2006. Supporters filled the court room, and more than two dozen additional supporters picketed outside the court house while the appeal was heard.


Anonymous said...

Those are some good pictures! Are they for sale?

Matthew said...

Everything has a price ;)

Send me an email ... matthew(at)

Matthew said...

Here is the court's disposition of the case.