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witch hunt against charity ends in plea bargain

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    The following article appeared on page A11 of the Tuesday 11 February 2003 edition of The Arizona Republic and is credited to USA Today. There has been a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2003
      The following article appeared on page A11 of the Tuesday 11 February 2003
      edition of The Arizona Republic and is credited to USA Today. There has
      been a disturbing trend recently in which flimsy government charges have
      ended with defendants giving up and accepting very unfavourable plea
      agreements. The case of Abdul Hamid/John Walker Lindh is a perfect example
      of that. The case described in this article is another. One wonders if there
      is some behind-the-scenes duress involved, such as the government threatening
      the defendant's family. In any case the progressive forces in the USA
      should struggle for a constitutional amendment to ban plea agreements. They
      exert pressure on the the innocent to plead guilty to avoid more severe
      punishment and allow the guilty to receive unduly mild punishments. They
      allow prosecutors to act by intimidation rather than justice.

      --Kevin

      GUILTY PLEA ACCEPTED IN CHARITY CASE

      Washington--Federal prosecutors dropped charges accusing the head of a
      Chicago-based Islamic charity of supporting al-Qaida as part of a deal in
      which Enaam Arnaout pleaded guilty Monday to funding other violent causes
      overseas.

      The government's case against Arnaout and the Benevolence International
      Foundation was brought in October as part of an ambitious effort to block
      cash raised in the United States from going to terrorist organizations.

      But Monday's plea bargain struck just before jury selection in Arnaout's
      trial removed the government's most striking accusation: That Arnaout
      and his prominent foundation was a U.S.-based front for Osama bin Laden's
      terrorist network.

      The plea agreement contained no references to al-Qaida or to bin Laden.

      Instead, Arnaout admitted to a conspiracy in which the foundation diverted
      hundreds of thousands of dollars from its advertised humanitarian effort to
      purchase boots, tents, uniforms and other supplies for Bosnian soldiers
      and Muslim rebels fighting in Chechnya during the past ten years.

      Arnaout faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison and $250,000 in
      fines.
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