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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 July, 2004, 01:10 GMT 02:10 UK
US brothers convicted over exports
Ghassan Elashi (pictured in December 2001)
Ghassan Elashi ran both a computer business and a Muslim charity
A Texas court has convicted five Palestinian-born brothers of selling computer equipment to Libya and Syria in violation of US anti-terrorism laws.

The men - Ghassan, Basman, Bayan, Hazim and Ihsan Elashi - ran a computer business in Richardson, Texas.

They were tried on more than 20 counts of money-laundering and false statements on export documents.

Three of the brothers are facing separate charges of funnelling money to the militant Palestinian group Hamas.

The five ran a firm called InfoCom.

On Wednesday, they were found guilty of shipping money to countries regarded by the US as sponsors of terrorism, and could face up to 10 years in jail.

Trial run

During the trial, prosecutors said they repeatedly filed false export forms to deceive the authorities about the nature of their business.

The defence argued that the brothers did not knowingly break laws and that the equipment sent to the Middle East consisted only of low-grade computers.

Prosecutors have said they will hold a second trial at an unspecified date for three of the brothers accused of helping to fund Hamas.

Ghassan Elashi was also director of a US Muslim charity called the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development.

The foundation was shut down in December 2001 after the US Treasury Department accused it of being a Hamas front and seized its assets.

Mr Elashi denies the the charge.

He and his two co-defendants are notably accused of sending money to senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook.

Abu Marzook's wife is related to the Elashi brothers.


SEE ALSO:
US warns Syria of sanctions move
01 May 04 |  Middle East
Terror arrests at US computer firm
18 Dec 02 |  Americas


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