Holy Land Retrial Ends in Sweeping Guilty Verdicts

Tuesday, November 25th 2008, 11:46 am
By: News 9

Staff and Wire Reports

DALLAS - Attorneys for a Muslim charity that helped victims of the Oklahoma City bombing say they'll appeal the terrorism convictions of the charity and five of its leaders.

A federal jury in Dallas found Holy Land and its officials guilty of funneling more than $$12 million to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"It involves a conspiriacy that spanned a 13-year period of an effort," U.S. Attorney Richard Roper said. "A sophisticated effort to support the terrorist organization Hamas."

Holy Land has been suspected since the 1990s of bankrolling social programs run by Hamas.

"This is a real victory for all of us in the sense that the funding for terrorism is essential for its continuation and we have done many things to weaken their operational capacity," Deputy Director MIPT David Cid said.

Prosecutors said the money helped Hamas spread its ideology and boost its ranks.

"Castro was funding free medical care in Cuba while he was torturing political prisoners to death," Cid said. "The fact that they did good work does not balance the scale in their favor."

Holy Land is based in Richardson, Texas, and was accused of financing schools, hospitals and social welfare programs controlled by Hamas.

"It just shows you that people can work and live anywhere, but have different ideologies," said Director of Oklahoma Homeland Security, Kerry Pettingil. "That is America, we just have to ensure that law enforcement follow up on different leads."

Supporters of the organization said it was targeted because of politics and attorneys for the group said Holy Land's mission was philanthropy and providing aid to the Middle East.