U.S. indicts Muslim charity on terror charges
Ashcroft to outline case against Texas group, individuals
From Terry Frieden
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 Posted: 1:41 PM EDT (1741 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. authorities planned to announce Tuesday charges against a Texas-based Muslim charity and seven individuals on charges related to financing terrorism, law enforcement sources said.
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was expected to provide details later Tuesday of the indictment against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development and the seven individuals.
Officials said the indictments by a Dallas, Texas, grand jury will name as defendants figures associated with the charity, which was virtually shut down by federal authorities who seized the organization's assets two years ago.
According to The Associated Press, the indictment includes a count or counts of conspiracy, providing support to an international terrorist organization, conspiracy to deal in the property of a terrorist, and dealing in the property of a specially designated terrorist.
The indictment also alleges money-laundering, conspiracy to impede an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and filing false tax returns, the AP reported.
Among the men charged were Shukri Abu Baker, the foundation's former chief executive, according to the AP.
Federal authorities said five of the seven indicted persons were arrested early Tuesday in Texas, New Jersey, and California. The two others are believed to be overseas, but authorities declined to be more specific.
Authorities have accused Holy Land Foundation of operating as a front for Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that the United States and Israel call an international terrorist organization. The group operates an extensive social services network in the Palestinian territories.
Within weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an FBI investigation identified Holy Land Foundation as the source of financial support for Hamas, and for family members of suicide bombers.
The government then froze the charity's assets, and courts have upheld the action.
On Monday, however, lawyers for Holy Land sent a formal complaint against the FBI to the Justice Department inspector general demanding an investigation into the FBI for distorting facts and falsifying evidence. A spokesman for the inspector general Tuesday confirmed receipt of correspondence