Tags: Judge | Stops | Lawsuit | Muslim | 'Charity'

Judge Stops Lawsuit by Muslim 'Charity'

Tuesday, 14 May 2002 12:00 AM

In a 12-page decision, senior U.S. District Judge James Alesia issued a stay in a civil suit aimed at unfreezing the assets of Benevolence International Foundation. The foundation's assets were frozen in December after the federal government said it suspected the organization of having ties to terrorists.

Attorney Matt Piers said the federal government was "doing everything it can" to make it impossible for the foundation to get a fair trial. He accused federal prosecutors of "poisoning" the environment.

The criminal case against Benevolence International Foundation and Executive Director Enaam Arnaout, a native of Syria, stem from statements filed in the civil suit. Armaout and the foundation denied any terrorist links, but the federal government says it has evidence of ties to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization.

Alesia said in Tuesday's decision the criminal and civil cases were too closely related for the latter to go forward now.

"Clearly the resolution of the related criminal matter will resolve many issues in this civil case," Alesia said. "A stay of this case will circumvent duplicative efforts by the two judges in the parallel civil and criminal cases. At the same time, the stay will prevent potentially contradictory decisions regarding nearly identical issues of law and fact in the parallel proceedings."

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Ian Levin found the government's evidence against Benevolence International Foundation and Arnaout "compelling" and refused to dismiss the charges. Arnaout faces a detention hearing Thursday. He is being held at Metropolitan Correction Center.

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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In a 12-page decision, senior U.S. District Judge James Alesia issued a stay in a civil suit aimed at unfreezing the assets of Benevolence International Foundation. The foundation's assets were frozen in December after the federal government said it suspected the...
Judge,Stops,Lawsuit,Muslim,'Charity'
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2002-00-14
Tuesday, 14 May 2002 12:00 AM
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