Hate Crime Defendants Accuse Prosecution Of Propaganda
Two men from Oak Lawn and Hickory Hills were charged with hate crime and robbery this summer after police said they beat up a woman they believed to be a lesbian. Prosecution is still gathering evidence.
Two southwest suburban men charged with hate crime and robbery accused the Cook County state's attorney's office on Friday morning of spreading lies.
"It's propaganda," said Mohammad Shaban outside a courtroom in Bridgeview. "It's just stories."
Shaban, 35, of Hickory Hills, and Akram Alshoweat, 22, of Oak Lawn, are accused of beating a woman they believed to be a lesbian outside a Hickory Hills restaurant on June 28, 2010. Alshoweat is also accused of taking the woman's cell phone, keys and wallet after lashing her with a belt.
The woman, according to a source close to the investigation, lives in Palos Hills.
"I know we're innocent," said Shaban, motioning with his head toward Alshoweat. "We know (the charges) will get dismissed, but these things take time."
Spokesman Andy Conklin said the state's attorney's office does not comment on pending cases.
In court, Shaban was visibly less confident, twitching his leg rapidly as he waited for his case to be called. Alshoweat, his cologne trailing and filling the courtroom long after he entered, sat stiffly by Shaban's side.
Judge Colleen Ann Hyland presided over today's hearing in place of Judge David Sterba. Assistant State's Attorney Jason Poje asked Hyland for more time to gather evidence, including lab work on fingerprint and DNA samples, and a copy of the 911 call.
The defendants return to court on March 2.