US imam jailed for supporting Hamas

A US judge has sentenced a Muslim imam to almost eight years in prison for giving support to the Palestinian group Hamas, which the US administration considers a terrorist organisation.

US imam jailed for supporting Hamas
Mohamed Shorbagi, a 42-year-old Palestine-native, initially faced 15 years in jail but his sentence has been commuted.
The US Justice Department said the sentence was reduced "because of the substantial co-operation he has provided in other terrorism-related cases".

A judge in the state of Georgia on Tuesday sentenced Shorbagi to seven years and eight months in prison for providing material support to Hamas.


Shorbagi, who had pleaded guilty, was also ordered to pay restitution of $610,454.
Small town shake-up
Gregory Jones, a local Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, said: "It is very disturbing to see people in the United States who are so willing to offer their assistance to known terrorist organisations."

David Nahmias, a US attorney, said the case clearly showed "people who illegally support foreign terrorist organisations may be found anywhere in the United States, even in quiet and pleasant places like Rome, Georgia".

He said Hamas had engaged in "numerous terrorist attacks", not only against Israeli soldiers and police but also against civilians, including Americans.


'Holy Land' donations


Prosecutors have said that between 1997 and 2001, Shorbagi provided financial support to Hamas. He also was accused of conspiring to provide them "material support".



The donations were through a charity called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, prosecutors said.


The Muslim charity group was shut down in 2001 after the government accused it of funneling more than $12m to Hamas. Several people connected to the group were charged.


At the sentencing, Shorbagi, a Palestinian who has been in the US legally for the past 22 years, said he realised that some of his actions were wrong, which was why he decided to co-operate with the government.

Shorbagi said: "I came to this country when I was 18 and I believe in this country."

His 14-year-old daughter, Esra, said the past few months had been very difficult for her mother and her family.

She said: "I'll be missing the help and encouragement of my father."

Aid embargo

Hamas won parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories, leading the United States and the European Union to cut off direct aid to the Palestinian Authority.

Washington and Brussels insist the group must renounce violence and recognise Israel's right to exist.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16