Several CAIR employees and other Muslim Brotherhood associates were indicted, tried, convicted, then retried, but their multi-year long appeals finally came to an end. The United States Supreme Court decided not to accept appeals from the five Holy Land Foundation officials convicted of illegally funneling more than $12 million to Hamas, essentially concluding the case.
MoveOn.org But that hasn’t stopped Muslims from claiming that the Holy Land 5 – Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader, and Abdulrahman Odeh – are “five innocent (HAH!) humanitarians who were unjustly tried,” and whose innocence is widely accepted by politicians, academics, and human rights advocates around the world; but politics keep them imprisoned, deprived of their families and freedoms.
Regardless of who wins the 2020 presidential election, we must mobilize to free the innocent fathers who have unjustly remained behind bars for over a decade. Turkish President Erdogan has offered to accept the Holy Land Five. We demand the Biden and Trump campaigns commit to release the Holy Land Five to Turkey, where they can spend the rest of their lives with their families and loved ones. This will return to them their rightful freedom, and save US taxpayers millions of dollars spent to imprison innocent men.
They were tried by the US Government in a case full of injustices, and evidence proving their innocence was not allowed in the courtroom. Their sentences ranged from 15 to 65 years in prison. They’ve exhausted all legal options, and their only hope for freedom is a presidential order (Not as long as Trump is president).
The Palestinian-American community and the Muslim-American community are pushing for this campaign promise in the strongest terms. ALL people of strong moral conscience, regardless of your faith or ethnicity, should support the freedom of the innocent Holy Land Five.
— Daniel Pipes دانيال بايبس (@DanielPipes) January 13, 2017
IPT The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected similar arguments last year in upholding the convictions against Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh. They were convicted on a total of 108 counts in 2008 and are serving sentences ranging from 15 years to 65 years in prison.
The defendants wanted the Supreme Court to overturn the Fifth Circuit ruling by rejecting the prosecution’s use of Israeli security officials whose identities were never disclosed. That, defense attorneys argued, hampered their ability to cross-examine the witnesses and violated the defendants’ rights to confront their accusers.
But other testimony and evidence was consistent with the Israelis’ testimony, the Fifth Circuit found. And there is precedent – especially in drug prosecutions – for courts balancing witness safety against the defendants’ confrontation rights. “[T]here was a serious and clear need to protect the true identities of [the Israeli witnesses] because of concerns for their safety,” the Fifth Circuit ruling said.
In addition, prosecutors did provide sufficient information for defense attorneys to cross examine aggressively. The “defense was therefore well-armed with information upon which to confront and cross-examine both,” the appellate court found.
The defense and its supporters continue to cast the Holy Land Foundation as a victim of overzealous post-9/11 prosecutions. The group merely raised money for needy Palestinians, they argue, and was never connected to any violence.
In 2007, the U.S. Justice Department designated CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity that financed the terrorist organization Hamas. The Justice Department specifically listed CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee; its section devoted to covertly assisting Hamas.
But evidence and testimony in the trial showed the HLF sent money to Palestinian charities controlled by Hamas. “The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas,” U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis said at the 2009 sentencing hearing.
HLF had been one of the nation’s largest Muslim charities before being shut down in 2001. Other disclosures in the case tied several prominent American Islamist groups –especially the Council on American-Islamic Relations – to a Muslim Brotherhood network in the United States created to provide Hamas with political and financial support.