Dallas News - August 6, 2004
Holy Land charity suspects released from jail
DALLAS – Three men indicted last month on charges of using a Muslim charity to finance terrorists were released from jail Friday while they await an October trial.
A federal magistrate 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 group Hamas.
A prosecutor did not oppose their release during a brief hearing. 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.
In a clear sign of the government's effort to win the case, Attorney General John Ashcroft personally announced the indictments July 27 on charges including conspiracy, aiding a designated terrorist group and money laundering.
Holy Land president Shukri Abu Baker, chairman Ghassan Elashi and a top fund-raiser, Mufid Abdulqader, were released.
In a separate case, Elashi was convicted last month of shipping computers to Libya and Syria in defiance of restrictions imposed on countries deemed state sponsors of terrorism. He was free until sentencing in October, only to be arrested again after the Holy Land indictments were handed up by a grand jury in Dallas.
A lawyer for the men, Tim Evans, said Friday that the government's lack of opposition to the release indicated that they are not dangers to the community. He said the government's case relied too much on an FBI report that he said was filled with errors….