AUGUST 20, 2009
A federal judge in Ohio has ruled that the U.S. government acted unconstitutionally when it froze the assets of an Islamic “charity” that funded Middle Eastern terrorists.
The Toledo-based nonprofit (Kindhearts) was shut down by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2006 after determining that was a terrorist front group that financed the Middle Easter extremist organization Hamas, among others. A top terrorism and financial intelligence official at the Treasury Department said Kindhearts attempted to mask its support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving, like several other groups such as the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation.
After the government shut down similar U.S.-based Islamic charities, Kindhearts took the lead as the top terrorism fundraiser in this country, delivering hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hamas and other extremist groups in Lebanon and the West Bank, according to U.S. intelligence reports.
A Bush executive order signed after the 2001 terrorism attacks, gives the Treasury Department expanded authority to freeze the assets of such terrorism organizations without warrants or court approval. The Obama Justice Department has subsequently defended the order in court.
But Judge James Carr, a Clinton appointee, determined that the seizure was unconstitutional because a warrant based on probable cause wasn’t obtained before freezing the group’s assets. The government violated the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process because it “violated Kindhearts’ fundamental right to be told on what basis and for what reasons the government deprived it of all access to all its assets and shut down its operations,” the judge wrote in his 100-page ruling.
An interesting note is that Kindheart’s former chairman (Hatem El-Hady) dedicated himself to raising money for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. He even had his own dedicated page on Obama’s official presidential campaign website detailing his fundraising on behalf of the then Illinois senator. The web page vanished after media reports of El-Hady’s terrorist ties surfaced, however, and so did Michelle Obama’s name from the friend list of El-Hady’s web page.
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