Federal Judge Overturns Freeze of KindHearts Assets


A federal judge has ruled that the Treasury Department acted unconstitutionally when it froze the assets of KindHearts, a Muslim Brotherhood-linked charity suspected of helping to raise money for Hamas. According to a New York Times report:

In a ruling that threw into doubt one of the government’s main counterterrorism tools, a federal judge said the Treasury Department acted unconstitutionally three years ago when it froze the assets of an Ohio charity suspected of aiding terrorists. The ruling challenged a key tactic used by the government under an emergency executive order signed by President George W. Bush two weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks. If upheld, the ruling could severely undercut the government’s authority and ultimately require it to get a warrant and submit to court review in moving against charities. In the last eight years, the Treasury Department has used its broadened authority to freeze tens of millions of dollars in assets held by eight charities within the United States and hundreds of other groups and individuals outside this country, all without warrants and court approval. The ruling was issued late Tuesday by James G. Carr, the chief federal judge in northern Ohio. Judge Carr set a hearing in September to determine how to correct what he said were constitutional flaws in the government’s case. Justice Department lawyers were reviewing the opinion. The Treasury Department did not comment directly but said in a statement that it “will continue to employ all authorities at our disposal to track and disrupt the deadly flow of money to terrorist groups.” At issue was a decision in 2006 by the Office of Foreign Asset Control, or OFAC, in the Treasury Department to freeze about $1 million in assets of KindHearts, a Columbus charity that was part of a terrorism investigation. The Treasury Department had said that KindHearts provided financial support for Hamas, described by the United States as a Palestinian militant group, and coordinated with its leaders in the West Bank and in Lebanon in support of terrorist activities.

Investigative research posted on GMBR detailed some of the links between KindHearts, the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas:

  • KindHearts and the Holy Land Foundation Foundation (HLF) as well as the Global Relief Foundation were strongly connected. The founder and CEO of KindHearts is an individual identified as Khaled Smaili who established KindHearts from his residence in January 2002. According to the Treasury Department, Mr. Smaili was a former official of the Global Relief Foundation, designated by the U.S. government a terrorist organization for its support of both Hamas and Al Qaida Other KindHearts leaders and fundraisers also once held leadership or other positions with HLF and GRF according to the government. HLF and its leaders were later convicted of financing Hamas.
  • The KindHearts fundraising coordinator was identified as Mohammed El-Mezain convicted in the HLF trial providing material support to Hamas. According to the Treasury Department, Mr. El-Mezain spoke and encouraged donations at a September 2003 KindHearts fundraising event at which a “KindHearts fundraiser spoke and encouraged the crowd to appreciate the efforts of the terrorist group Hizballah in supporting Hamas. The fundraiser then encouraged the crowd to give money and manpower as support against Israel.”
  • KindHearts listed the IAP, said by the government tobe a “mouthpiece” for Hamas in the U.S., as its “Fundraiser Organizer” in its tax filings and th IAP displayed an ad for KindHearts on its website. According to one organization, IAP distributed an email from KindHearts CEO Khaled Smaili. The ties between the IAP and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas are discussed in a Hudson report on the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood.
  • According to its spring 2004 newsletter, KindHearts presented the Bridgeview Mosque Foundation with its “Mosque of the Year” award in recognition of their members’ tremendous support” and KindHearts President Khaled Smaili presented the award to Mosque Foundation President Osama Jammal.The newsletter stated that “this community as a whole donated $195,000 for KH to fund its relief efforts for the innocent victims of home demolitions in Rafah Refugee Camp, Gaza.” The Chicago Tribune has documented extensive connections of the Bridgeview mosque to support of Hamas terrorism.

The Council on American Relations (CAIR), whose key leaders emerged from the Islamic Association of Palestine, called the decision “a victory for all Americans who value the constitutional rights to due process and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.”

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