By: Mehrunisa Qayyum
On Tuesday, October 11th, the FBI arrested Syrian-American Mohamad Anas Haithem Souied, 47, in Leesburg, Virginia for conducting espionage in collaboration with the Syrian Intelligence.
~April-June 2011: Souied participated in a conspiracy to gather intelligence for a foreign country attending US rallies by sharing 20 recordings of protests in the US with Syria’s spy agency and disclosed the names and contacts of Syrian Americans.
~Oct. 5: Grand jury agreed to the five-count indictment against Souied, according to the Justice Department.
Mohamad Souied is among the list of co-defendants in the case filed the SETF: Abdul Aziz, et al. v. The Syrian Arab Republic United States Disttrict Court for the District of Columbia. The indictment alleges that Mr. Souied met with President Bashar and tried to recruit others. Souied is a naturalized American citizen born in Syria.
Syrian Emergency Task Force
The Syrian Emergency Task Force is a non-profit organization based in the United Sates. The SETF was created to support the Syrian people’s democratic aspirations and to provide a venue for them to convey those aspirations to the American people.
Charges Against Mohamad Souied
SETF supports the actions that the US Department of and the Commonwealth of Virginia have taken against Mr. Souied. The FBI arrest signifies the first of its kind in addressing the Syrian regime’s unethical tactics to intimidate Syrians through their American relatives. Such action marks the next step in SETF’s larger mission to uphold the civil rights of Syrian-Americans, like Ms. Hala Abudl Aziz. Specifically, SETF commends the following statements:
Assistant Attorney General for National Security Lisa Monaco said in a statement that Mr Soueid’s actions were intended to “silence, intimidate and potentially harm” the protesters.
Prosecutor Neil MacBride said: “The ability to assemble and protest is a cherished right in the United States, and it’s troubling that a US citizen from Leesburg is accused of working with the Syrian government to identify and intimidate those who exercise that right.”
Moreover, Mohamad Souied used other aliases, such as ‘Alex Soueid’ and ‘Anas Alswaid’ to report on Americans of Syrian descent to the Syrian embassy, based in Washington, DC.
In July, the US State Department said, “We received reports that Syrian mission personnel under Ambassador [Imad] Moustapha’s authority have been conducting video and photographic surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States.” However, the Syrian Ambassador to the US continues to deny these allegations.
Ms. Abdul Aziz is not alone in her experience of the Syrian regime’s intimidation. World renown pianist , Malek Jandali, perfomred at a demonstration in Washington on July 23rd. Immediatately after, his parents were beaten and arrested in Damascus.
Note: Original SETF Press Release may be found on their website, which was issued by the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) 10/13/11.
SYRIAN EMERGENCY TASK FORCE
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