Date: Sat, 24 Aug 2002 16:50:59 -0500
From: ("Leon")
Subject: FEAR: Judge Says Gov't. Can Freeze Assets

Sorry, I do not have a link to this article as it came from a $$ service.

Judge Says Gov't. Can Freeze Assets Date: 8/9/02; Publication: AP Online; Author: CHRISTOPHER NEWTON,= ssociated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) _ An organization that claims to be the largest U.S.- based= Muslim-based charity can legally challenge the government's search of its= property but not the freezing of its assets, a federal judge ruled= Thursday.

The Holy Land Foundation, accused of funding the militant Islamic group= Hamas, sued the Bush administration after the group's offices in= Richardson, Texas, were raided and its assets were frozen n December.= Hamas is on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist= organizations.

Holy Land alleged the government violated its rights to a trial by jury= before punishment, freedom of religion and speech, and protection against= unwarranted search and seizures.

U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler upheld several government motions= and threw out the group's complaints on all counts except those related to= the search of the group's property, which, she said, could be a "classic= Fourth Amendment violation."

The government acknowledged conducting the search without a warrant.

Her ruling ensures a trial over the matter.

Kessler struck down Holy Land's argument that the freezing of its assets= constituted an illegal seizure. "Case law is clear that a blocking of this= nature does not constitute a seizure," the judge wrote.

Justice Department officials did not immediately comment on the ruling.= Messages left late Thursday for attorneys representing the Holy Land= Foundation were not immediately returned.

Holy Land was shut down by the Treasury Department in December as part of a= terrorism investigation.

An FBI memo, used by the government to freeze Holy Land's assets, claims a= leader of the charity attended a mid-1990s event where $207, 000 was= raised for Hamas.

Officials say their conservative estimate is that Hamas has raised several= million dollars in the United States over the past decade.

Holy Land leaders have denied supporting terrorism, arguing in court= documents that they raise funds for humanitarian and disaster relief.

But Kessler said the government's arguments against Holy Land are strong= and likely to prevail in court.

In the opinion, Kessler also struck down Holy Land's request that the= government be kept from freezing the group's assets until a trial.

The narrowing of the lawsuit probably will make it more difficult for Holy= Land to win its case, experts said.

"The group tried to cast a wide net with a broad lawsuit and the judge= rled there was only one fish in it," said Kenneth Williams, a= constitutional law attorney in Dallas. "Now, religion, freedom of speech= and right to jury won't be able to be brought up in court. It puts much= more burden on the Holy Land Foundation."

CHRISTOPHER NEWTON, Associated Press Writer, Judge Says Gov't. Can Freeze= Assets. , AP Online, 08-09-2002.


Leon Felkins, FEAR Executive Director Send mail to:

"The sacred rights of property are to be guarded at every point. I call= them sacred, because, if they are unprotected, all other rights become= worthless or visionary. What is personal liberty, if it does not draw= after it the right to enjoy the fruits of our own industry? What is= political liberty, if it imparts only perpetual poverty to us and all our= posterity? What is the privilege of a vote, if the majority of the hour= may sweep away the earnings of our whole lives, to gratify the rapacity of= the indolent, the cunning, or the profligate, who are borne into power= upon the tide of a temporary popularity?" -- Judge Joseph Story, 1852

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