Palestinian terrorist groups celebrate release of political prisoner held in US jail for fifteen years
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Palestinian groups celebrated today as Holy Land Foundation Five member Abdulrahman Odeh was released from US imprisonment after 15 years behind bars for allegedly funding terrorism.
Mr Odeh and four others were jailed in 2008 after a court found the Muslim charity guilty of funding Palestinian organisation Hamas, which governs the besieged Gaza Strip.
They were charged with “providing material support for terrorism.”
The Holy Land Foundation, the largest Muslim charity in the US, was designated a terrorist organisation as part of then president George W Bush’s “war on terror.”
Mr Bush said that the government would seize the charity’s assets and close it down, despite official acknowledgment that the financial support that HLF sent to Palestine went to charities that supported widows and orphans living under Israeli occupation –and were also funded by the US government.
During the trial, prosecutors told jurors that the schools, hospitals, and social-welfare programmes that the charity sent money to were under Hamas control.
Since money is “fungible,” they argued that HLF’s donations freed up other money for Hamas to spend on violent attacks.
But the same projects also received funding from USAID and the International Red Cross.
Shukri Abu Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Mr Odeh received jail sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years in what campaigners warned was “a concentrated, anti-Palestinian campaign” to destroy the community and its institutions in the US.
“It comes as no surprise that the Israeli colonial occupation and the imperialist power that arms, funds and sponsors the zionist project would want to see such an institution, strengthening the steadfastness of the Palestinian people to live, survive and persist under occupation and colonialism, defunded and destroyed,” the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network said in a statement.
It warned that by labelling Palestinian organisations as terrorists, the United States, European Union, Canada and Britain aimed to repress communities and people fighting for justice and liberation, even stopping chartiable organisation for the inhabitants of Palestinian refugee camps.
Samidoun described the four men who remain behind bars as “Palestinian political prisoners in US jails.”
A statement said: “Today is a day for celebration. We renew our demand for the immediate freedom of the HLF5, all political prisoners in US jails and all Palestinian political prisoners around the world – in Israeli, imperialist, and reactionary prisons – and emphasise the urgent need to mobilise in support of their liberation.
Source: Morning Star Online