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Court Denies Charity Access to Its Assets

August 29, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A Dallas-based charity shut down nearly two years by the government for alleged ties to the Palestinian militant group Hamas has been turned down a second time by a U.S. appeals court in its lawsuit to free up assets and clear its name.

The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denying a hearing for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development sets the stage for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, a lawyer for the charity said Thursday. The appeals court gave no explanation for its Aug. 22 decision.

Acting on a directive from President Bush in December 2001, federal agents closed Holy Land's headquarters in Dallas and offices in three other states, seizing more than $5 million in assets.

Officials charged the charity operated as a fund-raising front for Hamas, sending millions in aid to Palestinian social programs tied to the militant group.

The charity sued the government in March 2002, contending that it was falsely accused and deprived of constitutional and religious rights.

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