Feedback: Rastafarian Claims He's Victim Of Discrimination

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For the last several months, Ibrahim Abdulghani has been waging a battle to clear his name in what he calls a "racially discriminatory" judicial system that he has fought to win justice.

"I don't see why they had so much hate for me...What did I do so wrong," he said.

Abdulghani was one of three people charged by Ogdensburg City Police in February 2013 in connection with an untaxed cigarette investigation at Belmont Courts involving more than 10,000 cartons.

He maintains he was only at the residence because he needed a place to stay and was unaware of the alleged criminal activity.

He spent a month in jail last year on misdemeanor charges of untaxed cigarette possession, criminal tax fraud and criminal conspiracy and probation violations. 

Abdulghani identifies himself as a spiritual Rastafarian who smokes "Ganja" - a form of marijuana - as part of his religious beliefs.

That led to a probation violation when he tested positive for pot.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome Richards eventually sent the case against Abdulghani to City Court for lack of felony evidence.

Abdulghani won a minor victory this week when criminal charges against him were dismissed in Ogensburg City Court and his records were sealed, although we don't know why.

Despite a conviction for drug possession years ago that netted him some state prison time, Abdulghani says he has been fighting to overcome his past to make a better future.

"I lost a whole lot and the only thing I know how to do is to fight," he said.

We spoke with police and others in the legal system, who declined on camera interviews, but defended Abdulghani's arrest and denied any racism or discrimination in the handling of his case.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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