9/11 a factor in juror selection in US terror case

February 15, 2006 05:04

A father and son charged with lying about the younger man attending a terror training camp in Pakistan went on trial, with potential jurors questioned about terrorism and whether they knew anyone who died during the September 2001 attacks. Umer Hayat, 48, and his 23-year-old son, Hamid, have been in custody since their arrest last June, shortly after the son returned to the US after nearly two years in Pakistan. Prosecutors allege Hamid Hayat was planning to attack hospitals and supermarkets. Before the jury was selected, defense attorneys and prosecutors quizzed potential jurors about their views on terrorism, Islam and immigration. The questionnaire asked if they lost anyone in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, speak any of six Middle and Far Eastern languages, have any prejudices against Muslims or Pakistanis or believe Islam endorses violence to a greater extent than other major religions. In his questioning, Griffin asked jurors for their initial impressions when they heard the case was about terrorism. Some said they immediately thought of the 9/11 attacks 4 1/2 years ago.

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