A jury on Monday determined that the Holy Land Foundation and five men who worked with the Muslim charity were guilty of three dozen counts related to the illegal funneling of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
The unanimous verdicts are a complete victory for the government, which streamlined its case and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex, massive evidence presented in the trial. Guilty verdicts were read on 108 separate charges.
“It’s a sad day,” said Mohammed Wafa Yaish, Holy Land’s former accountant and himself a witness of the trial. “It looks like helping the needy Palestinians is a crime these days.”
Opening statements at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse in downtown Dallas began Sept. 22. Over the past two months, prosecutors attempted to prove that five former charity organizers used Holy Land, once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., to funnel an estimated $60 million to the militant group — most of it before 1995.
Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 1995, and the trial centered on the $12 million the government said Holy Land and supporters funneled to the group after that date.
Defense attorneys argued that the foundation was a legitimate, non-political charity that helped distressed Palestinians under Israeli occupation. They accused the government of bending to Israeli pressure to prosecute the charity, and of relying on old evidence predating the 1995 designation.