Washington : A US federal jury has ruled that the Holy Land Foundation charity and five of its employees are guilty of channeling at least $12 million to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the attorney who prosecuted the case said.
The verdict in a federal courtroom in Dallas was a major victory for the government in prosecuting the financing of terrorism inside the US. All five men insisted they were innocent during the trial that began in September.
The Holy Land Foundation, which was shut down by the US government in 2001, gave about $12.4 million in support to Hamas and the government argued the group intentionally hid the connection.
All five men were convicted on conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a terrorist organisation. Several of the defendants were also convicted on tax charges and of providing support to a foreign terrorist group.
“Today’s verdict is an important milestone in America’s efforts against financiers of terrorism. For many years, the Holy Land Foundation used the guise of charity to raise and funnel millions of dollars to the infrastructure of the Hamas terror organisation,” Patrick Rowan, assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.
“This prosecution demonstrates our resolve to ensure that humanitarian relief efforts are not used as a mechanism to disguise and enable support for terrorist groups,” he added.
The Holy Land Foundation was formed in the 1980s and shut down by the US government in December 2001. At that time, it was the largest US Muslim charity. The US State Department listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation in 1995.