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Suspects in Hamas Case Get Anklets

August 07, 2004|From Associated Press

DALLAS — Three men indicted last week on charges of using a Muslim charity to finance terrorists were released from jail Friday while they await an October trial, but were ordered to wear electronic monitors.

A federal magistrate judge ordered the release of the men, including the president and chairman of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, which prosecutors say was a financial supporter of the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

A prosecutor did not oppose their release. Two other defendants were arrested in California and New Jersey and are expected to be returned to Texas, and another two are fugitives outside the United States.

Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft announced the indictments July 27 on charges including conspiracy, aiding a designated terrorist group and money laundering.

A lawyer for the men, Tim Evans, said Friday that the government's case relied too much on an FBI report that he said was filled with errors. The FBI memo detailed years of surveillance of the group, including attendance by officials at meetings to raise money for Hamas.

The indictment alleges that Holy Land provided more than $12.4 million to individuals and organizations linked to Hamas from 1995 to 2001.

Holy Land's stated mission was to aid needy families in the West Bank, Gaza and other places.

Released Friday were Holy Land's president Shukri Abu Baker, chairman Ghassan Elashi and a top fund-raiser, Mufid Abdulqader. The men, who were ordered to wear electronic monitors around their ankles, will be confined to home except for work, doctor visits and religious activities.

All three declined comment Friday.

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