Update: Pie thrower facing felony charge for 'stalking' senator
An antiwar activist who hit Senator Levin in the face with a dutch apple pie on Monday is facing a felony charge of stalking in addition to misdemeanor charges of battery and assault.
The 23-year-old woman who police say hit the senator with the pie is charged with assault. And because she was arrested last year during an anti war sit-in at Senator Levin's office, she may also face felony stalking charges.
A man who police say distracted the senator and another woman who took video of the confrontation may also face charges as accomplices.
The activist, Ahlam Mohsen, is being held without bond and is due in court on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.
Original story continues below...
Antiwar activist tosses pie at Sen. Levin (D-MI) eighteen months after trespassing arrest
Senator Levin was on the receiving end of a thrown pie during a question-and-answer session on Monday.
The accused pie thrower is Ahlam Mohsen, a 23-year-old senior at Michigan State University and antiwar activist. She was arrested after the incident while attempting to flee and is charged with assault and battery.
The assault came after a speech by another protester, Max Kantar, 23, of Big Rapids, who criticized Levin - chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee - for his stance on U.S. foreign policy issues, including "Israel war crimes against the Palestinian people." After Mohsen pied the long-time senator, both she and Kantar fled from Pepper's.
"Carl Levin is one of the most respected senators in Congress," Mohsen said. "People tend to blame the war on Republicans, but we wanted to target Levin today to send a message that liberals and Democrats are just as implicated in the violence as the Republicans."
Mohsen's has previously faced arrest for her activism. According to The Daily Reporter, in January of 2009, Mohsen faced prosecution for trespassing during a sit-in at the Michigan office of Senator Levin. She was part of a group of students who were trying to get into contact with the senator.
Mohsen told the MSU State-News newspaper the group wanted to present demands to the senator, which included having the U.S. take steps toward cutting off military, economic and diplomatic support for Israel and calling for an international investigation of Israeli war crimes.
When LevinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office on the 18th floor of the Boji Tower closed, the students refused to leave and police were called. All three bonded out within 24 hours and were set for an arraignment in Ingham County District Court in February on the 90-day misdemeanor for the ordinance violation.
Then, in November of 2009, Moshen was reportedly arrested by Israeli authorities and deported to the US while she was visiting a family in Palestine.
Ahlam was a guest of the al-Kurd family when on the morning of 3 November 2009 Israeli settlers burst in and seized part of the building. Contrary to eyewitness accounts, the police claim the 21-year-old attacked them.
From the Givon prison in Ramle where Ms. Mohsen is currently awaiting deportation she reported that: Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Israeli police were violently pushing an elderly Palestinian woman. So I stepped in front of them. They told me to move and when I refused they started forcefully pushing me. Then they grabbed me and carried me into a police van. While I was waiting at the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the police officers kept telling each other that I was a `dirty ArabÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ and introducing me as Ã¢â‚¬ËœOsama Bin LadenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sisterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. One of them, threatened to `break my headÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. None of the other non-violent demonstrators were targeted; the way they treated me, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s obvious that I was arrested because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m of Arab descent.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Nor is this the first time that Senator Levin has been confronted about the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After the confirmation hearing for General Petreaus in June, CODEPINK activists questioned how the Senator could spend "$33 billion for an unwinnable war when his hometown of Detroit was falling apart."
"I live in Detroit. You don't know what you're talking about. Detroit's problems have nothing to do with the war," Levin responded.
But antiwar activists like Medea Benjamin are quick to point out that the war effects cities all across the nation.
Detroit is careening off the cliff and elected official like Senator Levin are throwing trillions of dollars into a bloated military budget and unwinnable wars. Detroit's own citizens -- the ones who have not yet abandoned the city -- have been forced to pay for their own demise. In the past decade, residents of Detroit have paid $1.8 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taxpayers in Senator Levin's home state of Michigan have been forced to pay $27.8 billion in war spending since 2001.
After being hit in the face with the pie, Levin remarked that someone who "hits somebody with something doesn't understand the blessings of America."
Senator Levin describes his account of the experience below.