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Hamas financing suspect sentenced to prison for refusing to testify

[JURIST] Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a former associate professor of business at Howard University in Washington DC who was one of three men indicted [press release] in 2004 by a US federal grand jury on charges of engaging in a 15-year conspiracy of providing funds to Hamas [JURIST news archive], was sentenced Wednesday to eleven years in prison for his refusal to testify before a federal grand jury earlier this year. In February, Ashqar was found not guilty of racketeering [JURIST report], but was convicted of obstruction of justice and criminal contempt. He refused to testify before a grand jury after receiving immunity from prosecutors.

US District Judge Amy J. St. Eve [official profile] said in her Wednesday ruling that he refused to testify because he wanted to "promote terrorism," and agreed with federal prosecutors who argued that without his testimony it was difficult to complete their investigations into crimes committed by Hamas, including deciphering coded messages. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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