Columbia Family Calls on Obama to Commute Father's Sentence

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COLUMBIA - The son of a Columbia grocer headed to federal prison in less than two weeks told KOMU 8 News Thursday he hopes President Barack Obama will commute his father's sentence. Shakir Hamoodi, the owner of World Harvest market, will begin his 3-year sentence in federal prison August 28. Hamoodi was convicted of violating federal sanctions against Iraq after sending about $200,000 to family, friends, and charities to his native country from 1991 to 2003.

"This petition clearly shows that what my dad did was purely humanitarian," said Salahodeen Abdul-Kafi. "The only result of the actions of my father was to help hundreds of people in Iraq."

The petition which has been circulating since May and has more than 3,500 signatures.

Hamoodi, a former University of Missouri nuclear scientist, pleaded guilty to the charges in 2009 and was sentenced by a federal judge to serve three years in prison in May.

Hamoodi's family and supporters started a petition to urge President Obama to commute his sentence. Family and friends of Hamoodi are holding a pot-luck dinner on Aug. 25.  The store will remain open and be operated by one of Hamoodi's sons. For more information on the petition click here.