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A short film about my friend Ahmed, who was wrongfully imprisoned at 22, tortured, then sentenced to life in solitary confinement.
A short film about my friend Ahmed, who was wrongfully imprisoned at 22, tortured, then sentenced to life in solitary confinement.
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75 backers pledged $9,515 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$9,515

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Important Note

We set the Kickstarter aim to $5,000 though we actually need at least $10,000 to produce the film.  Kickstarter is an all or nothing system, and we didn't want to discount a single dollar. Please keep on pledging and spreading, to help make a short film to tell the world about my friend Ahmed Abu-Ali: Yearning to Breathe Free.

About My Friend

Ahmed is an American victim of the War on Terror.  He once had a regular life as a youth group leader at my interfaith group, teacher at the weekend school, and American Red Cross Blood Donor.  Now he is in Solitary Confinement at ADX Supermax prison.  He has been wrongfully incarcerated since he was 22; now he is 31 years old.

Why his case matters

His case set many disturbing precedents:

  • It is OK to arrest an American citizen based on secret evidence alone
  • It is OK to use a video recorded in a foreign country as the sole piece of evidence in a U.S. courtroom
  • It is OK to admit evidence obtained by torture in a US courtroom
  • It is OK for witnesses to testify anonymously

Ahmed's case made it OK to deny an American of his basic rights as an American citizen—the right for a Miranda statement, the right to an attorney, the right to a speedy trial, the right to know your accuser, the right to know the evidence against you, and the protection from cruel and unusual punishments.  In our U.S. courts, under the banner of liberty and justice for all, Ahmed has been stripped of his 4th, 5th and 6th amendment rights. Yearning to Breathe Free will tell his story with the hope of reversing these precedents for Ahmed, and all Americans now and in the future.

Ahmed was sentenced to life in solitary confinement even though his so called “conspiracies” in the words of judge Gerald Bruce Lee “did not result in a single actual victim.”

The Film

In less than 10 minutes, the film will take you on Ahmed's journey.  Everyday, Ahmed still resides in a place only a few feet wider than a grave, and many times deeper: A grave is 6 feet deep 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. Ahmed's cell is 20 meters under ground, 8 feet long, and 12 feet wide. 

The film will bring Ahmed to life.  It will illustrate the effects of Ahmed's incarceration on his family, friends, and  community; and our cherished American values that we take for granted. 

Support Yearning to Breathe Free and together we can make our pledge of allegiance something that we can all wholeheartedly believe in.  Let’s bring to life liberty and justice for all. Please pledge today!

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                            DETAILS ABOUT THE CASE

Please visit http://writ.news.findlaw.com/cassel/20051107.html

And check out these emails from the FBI:


Thank you for your pledges and support!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Outreach Partner: Tell the world about Ahmed. If you share our Kickstarter link to a mailing list, Facebook group, or Twitter following of more than 500 people, we'll list you as an "Outreach Partner" in the film credits and on our website.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank You! You would make the face of the U.S. 5 dollar bill proud: "Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it." -Abraham Lincoln

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    We'll send you a link to the film before it goes public, and a customized electronic thank you card.

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    13 backers
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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A handwritten postcard featuring a scene from the film and a DVD of the film, signed by Ahmed's sister (since Ahmed's locked up and can't sign it himself).

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    19 backers
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    A special invitation to our film screening reception in Washington D.C. plus an autographed DVD of the film. [travel and lodging excluded]

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    7 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    You will receive a limited edition poster of the film signed by the cast and crew! Plus everything from the $60 bracket.

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    3 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A handmade silk-screened Yearning to Breathe Free shirt, personally designed by Sarah and friends from Bryn Mawr just for you! Plus everything from the $100 award bracket.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A unique Yearning to Breathe Free card made by Sarah, a special Quran recording from the last time Ahmed was free, and everything from the $250 award bracket. [Note to international backers: while shipping costs vary, we ask that, regardless of where you are located, you add the flat rate of $5 to your pledges to account for extra shipping costs in all brackets. Thank You!]

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    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    Customized fondant Yearning to Breathe Free Cake--your choice of chocolate or vanilla! Made by Sarah using halal and kosher ingredients. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free is also available upon request. *available within a 10-mile radius of Washington D.C. or Baltimore*

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Live in our near our nation's Capitol? Lunch with Sarah to discuss the film, Ahmed, human rights, solitary confinement, liberty and justice for all, and a better tomorrow. Plus a signed DVD of the film and handmade thank you card.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    Live in Baltimore or close by? Dinner with Sarah plus a signed DVD of the film and handmade thank you card.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Come to Washington D.C. and tour our nation's Capitol with Sarah, a former tour-guide. Plus lunch, a signed DVD of the film, and a handmade thank you card. [travel and lodging excluded].

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Thank You--You are making this dream come true! One thousand times that of Abraham Lincoln, too. You are making Yearning To Breathe Free a reality. You will become an Associate Producer of the film, and are a champion. Material gifts include the limited edition poster, set of DVDs, and a handmade card. Non-material gifts include uncountable thanks.

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Funding period

- (46 days)