A U.S. federal appeals court upheld the convictions of five leaders of a "charity" on charges of funneling money and supplies to Hamas, designated by the US as a terrorist group. The unanimous three-judge panel referenced “voluminous evidence” that the foundation, which was started in the late 1980s, had long-running financial ties to Hamas. The Texas-based Holy Land Foundation had its assets frozen by the Bush administration in December 2001 and were found guilty in 2008 on charges of funneling money to Hamas.
Ghassan Elashi, of Richardson, one of the founders of the "charity" , received 65 years for support of Hamas money laundering and tax fraud. Shukri Abu Baker, of Garland, Holy Land's CEO, received 65 years for support of Hamas, money laundering and tax fraud. Mufid Abdulqader, of Richardson received 20 years for conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Abdulrahman Odeh, of the New Jersey office received 15 years in prison for conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist; and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Mohammad El-Mezain who ran the California Office of Holy Land received 15 years in prison for providing support to Hamas.
The organizers of the Holy Land Foundation, based in Richardson, Texas argued they were denied a fair trial in 2008. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected those challenges, concluding that “while no trial is perfect,” Holy Land and its leaders were fairly convicted.
Federal law makes it a crime to provide material aid and support to a designated terrorist organization like Hamas. “By supporting such entities, the defendants facilitated Hamas’ activity by furthering its popularity among Palestinians and by providing a funding resource. This, in turn, allowed Hamas to concentrate its efforts on violent activity,” wrote Judge Carolyn King
This organization's tax exemption has been suspended under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(p). Contributions to this organization during its 501(p) suspension are not deductible. This organization has been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control as supporting or engaging in terrorist activity. All financial transactions with this organization by residents of the United States, or within the borders of the United States, are prohibited.