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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 02:29 GMT 03:29 UK
US brothers guilty of aiding Hamas
By Ian Pannell
BBc News, Washington

Ghassan Elashi (pictured in December 2001)
Ghassan Elashi was tried with two of his brothers
Three US brothers have been found guilty of supporting terrorism in a court in Dallas, Texas.

The men were charged with passing money to an official in the militant Palestinian group, Hamas.

Ghassan, Basman and Bayan Elashi were tried on 21 counts of conspiracy, money laundering and dealing in the property of a terrorist.

They will be sentenced later, after one of the US government's highest profile terrorism prosecutions.

The brothers are Palestinian-born Muslims.

Ghassan and Bayan Elashi were convicted on all 21 counts, while Basman Elashi was found guilty on three counts.

Prosecutors said the men tried to conceal a $250,000 investment in their computer firm by a Hamas official, Mousa Abu Marzook.

Ten years ago he was accused of being a terrorist by the US government.

He was deported and is now believed to be living in Syria.

This effectively meant that it would be illegal for anyone to do business with him - something the Elashi brothers have now been found guilty of. Last year the three, along with two other Elashi brothers, were convicted of making illegal technology shipments to Libya and Syria - countries the US government considers state sponsors of terrorism.

This will be seen as a successful outcome for the Department of Justice.

Ever since the 11 September attacks authorities have taken an increasingly hard line view of any contact with proscribed groups or individuals in the Middle East.


SEE ALSO:
US brothers convicted over exports
08 Jul 04 |  Americas
Who are Hamas?
18 Apr 04 |  Middle East
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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