Holy Land Trial Third Major Setback for Prosecutors


The failure to win any convictions against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was the third major setback for federal prosecutors after charging individuals in this country with providing aid to foreign terrorists.

In 2005, former college professor Sami Al-Arian was acquitted on eight counts of aiding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. After a six-month trial, jurors deadlocked on nine other counts. Al-Arian pleaded guilty to one count of providing services to members of the terrorist group rather than face a retrial. He was sentenced last year to four years and nine months in prison and will be deported after serving the sentence.

This year, a jury in Illinois acquitted Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar of operating a terrorist recruiting and financing cell. Salah was sentenced in July to 21 months in federal prison for lying in a civil lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by parents of an American teenager murdered in Israel by Hamas gunmen - Holy Land was a defendant.

On Monday, a federal court jury in Dallas failed to reach a verdict after a two-month trial in which Holy Land was accused of aiding the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The judge declared a mistrial, and the lead prosecutor said he expected the government to retry the case. 1 of 5 defendants was acquitted on 31 of 32 counts against him but could be retried on that single count. (MORE)

 


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