Washington: An American Islamic group sought maximum penalty for a man from Washington who has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle on charges of hate crime against a 50-year-old Sikh man.
"We ask that federal prosecutors seek the maximum penalties in order to send the message that anti-Muslim violence, or violence targeting any minority group, will not be tolerated in our state or in our nation," Jennifer Gist, the civil rights coordinator of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement.
"There has been a troubling spike in hate crimes against Muslim individuals and institutions, as well as those perceived to be associated with the Muslim community, and law enforcement must send a strong message that justice will be served in these cases," she said.
On Tuesday a federal grand jury in Seattle indicted Jamie Larson, 49, charging of hate crime against a Sikh cab driver. He now faces a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, a USD 250,000 fine, and a 100 penalty assessment.
The Department of Justice in a statement said that Larson has been charged with one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was enacted in October 2009.
The indictment alleges that on October 17, 2012, the subject assaulted the victim, based upon the victim`s actual and perceived race, colour and national origin, which included Middle Eastern and Arab descent. The defendant was arrested at the scene of the attack after a witness called 911.
The Shepard-Byrd law criminalises acts of physical violence causing bodily injury motivated by any person`s actual or perceived race, colour, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.