U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis on Wednesday morning handed down sentences that will likely mean two founders of the Holy Land Foundation will spend the rest of their lives behind bars for financing the terrorist group Hamas. Shukri Abu Baker, 50, of Garland was ordered to serve 65 years in prison as sentencing began for five men convicted on charges in the largest terrorism financing case in American history. Another founder, Ghassan Elashi, 55, of Richardson, was sentenced to 65 years in prison. Elashi maintained his innocence even as he was sentenced….Another defendant, Mohammad El-Mezain, 55, was sentenced to 180 months in prison, followed by three years of supervisory release after serving that time. Jurors found him guilty of providing support to Hamas, having been acquitted on 31 other charges in 2007….Mufid Abdulqader, 49 and a top volunteer fundraiser for Holy Land, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Jurors found him guilty on three charges, including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization; conspiracy to provide funds, goods and services to a specially designated terrorist; and conspiracy to commit money laundering….Elashi is already serving a 6 ½-year sentence in federal prison for export law violations. In the Holy Land trial, jurors found him guilty on 35 charges, including support of Hamas, money laundering and tax fraud.
The two men were convicted in November, 2008.
The HLF was the largest Palestinian charity in the U.S. and was intimately associated with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood whose organizations consistently supported HLF throughout the two trials. Among the more significant developments during the history of the prosecution was the public release of a cache of U.S. Brotherhood documents discovered in the backyard of one of the defendants that revealed the previously unknown covert structures of the Brotherhood in the U.S. Also significant was the naming of many of the U.S. Brotherhood leaders and organizations as unindicted coconspirators in the case, a move which is still being fought by those same groups and individuals.