Letter published in the Post-Standard, Thursday, November 3, 2005

I stand with my students every school day and recite the Pledge of Alllegiance. The last five words are “liberty and justice for all.” I will never again say these words with the same conviction after I became aware that Dr. Rafil Dhafir was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

The closest analogy I can think of is when we imprisoned Japanese-Americans in detention camps during another war overseas. This also was a mistake and a travesty of justice.

Who gets 22-year prison sentences? Murderers? Dr. Dhafir was raising money for needy people. Who else gets denied bail? Drug kingpins? Violent felons who are repeat offenders?

There are over 2,000 corporations who had “illegal” dealings with Iraq in the “Food for Oil” debacle. Did any CEOs ever see the inside of a courtroom?

Perhaps some paid fines. I am deeply saddened by the lack of justice I see. Furthermore, the courtroom sketch on the front page of The Post-Standard on Friday, Oct. 28 looks more like a political cartoon or caricature with stereotypical cultural and racial overtones than an accurate protrayal of Dr. Dhafir and his lawyer.

Would any of the local politicians care comment on the injustice that took place in Syracuse?

Joseph Soule