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Saba cannot invoke 'Allah' during federal murder trial

9:03 PM, Feb 22, 2011   |    comments
Rami Saba
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A Lowell man facing trial in federal court for murder and fraud will not be allowed to invoke the name of Allah while defending himself.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff issued the order Tuesday, turning down a motion filed by Rami Saba, 37.

Saba is accused of killing Saranac resident Donald Dietz, 66, in 2007, as part of a plot to use Dietz's identity and access $400,000 in his bank account.

Last year, Saba filed a motion asking the judge to allow him to refer to Allah during trial -- as often as every sentence.  Prosecutors countered, saying mentions of religion were not relevant. On Tuesday, Judge Neff ordered Saba not to make any mentions of Allah when he represents himself in his trial.

Saba's trial is to begin in May.  the trial of his co-defendant, Raogo Ouedraogo, is scheduled to begin March 1.

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