Friday, November 23, 2007

US Defendant Gets 11 Years For Refusing To Testify Against Hamas

At least some of the US trials of terrorists are getting results:
A former business professor accused of taking part in a Palestinian terrorist network was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Wednesday for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.

Abdelhaleem Ashqar, 49, a former associate professor of business at Washington's Howard University, was taken into custody by federal marshals immediately after the sentencing during which prosecutors warned that he might flee.

Ashqar was convicted earlier this year of criminal contempt and obstruction of justice for refusing to testify in 2003 before a grand jury investigating the Palestinian militant movement Hamas. Prosecutors had granted him immunity.
It is no small matter that Ashqar is refusing to testify. Ashqar is knowingly enabling the terrorist activities of Hamas to continue:
Federal prosecutors said that Ashqar's refusal to testify made it harder to investigate violent crimes committed by Hamas. Some coded messages that if understood might help to prevent acts of terrorism remain incomprehensible to investigators, prosecutors said.

"A man who knows (the meaning) is sitting right across the room but he won't tell us," Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid J. Schar told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve.

In a key decision, St. Eve found that Ashqar's refusal to testify was motivated by a desire to "promote terrorism." That toughened the federal sentencing guidelines and guaranteed that he would get a stiff sentence.
Of course, Ashqar's attorney is filled with righteous indignation--and ridiculous comparisons.
Ashqar attorney William Moffitt compared his client with Nelson Mandela who served 27 years in South Africa.
By all means then, lets add another 16 years to Ashqar's sentence so he can be even more like Mandela.

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