[Ppnews] Prosecution Rests at Muhammad Salah Trial

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 13 08:45:28 EST 2006


Prosecution Rests at Hamas Trial
http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6276980,00.html

Wednesday December 13, 2006 4:01 AM

By MIKE ROBINSON

Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) - After two months of testimony, federal prosecutors 
rested their case Tuesday against two men charged with funneling cash 
and fresh recruits to Hamas terrorists trying to topple the Israeli 
government.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve sent jurors home until next week, 
when defense lawyers are to call witnesses.

Closing arguments in the racketeering conspiracy trial of former 
Chicago grocer Muhammad Salah, 53, and former university professor 
Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 48, of Alexandria, Va., may not come until after 
a holiday break.

Salah was arrested in Israel in 1993 and served 4 years in prison 
there before his release and return to Chicago. Prosecutors say 
$90,000 was found in his hotel room in Israel, money they contend was 
meant to help Hamas rebuild its military structure.

Salah says that he is not a Hamas member and that the money was 
destined for Palestinian charities.

Ashqar, once an adjunct professor of business at Howard University in 
Washington, controlled a number of bank accounts that prosecutors say 
supplied cash to Hamas. He also says the money was for charity.

Salah claims he was tortured by Israel's Shin Bet security service 
into admitting he was aiding Hamas. Former New York Times reporter 
Judith Miller, however, testified that he appeared ``jaunty'' at the 
interrogation and that she saw no evidence he was being tortured.

Prosecutors led off the trial in October by calling two Shin Bet 
interrogators who testified under aliases in a courtroom that had 
been cleared of spectators that Salah was not mistreated by their 
organization.

Salah's lawyer, Michael Deutsch, said he hopes to call two witnesses 
who are experts on Shin Bet interrogation methods, and Israeli human 
rights attorney Avigdor Feldman, who represented Salah before a 
military tribunal in that country.


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