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      Hamas-Linked Charity Sues US Gov't to Unfreeze Funds

      A Hamas-linked charity has sued the United States government in an attempt to force officials to unfreeze its bank accounts.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 10/10/2008, 10:33 AM

      A Hamas-linked charity based in Ohio has sued the United States government in an attempt to wrest its assets free.

       

      The "Kindhearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development" organization filed a lawsuit in federal court in Toledo, Ohio on Thursday, demanding that the government unfreeze its assets.

       

      In 2006, the U.S. Treasury Department ordered banks to freeze the organization's accounts, due to suspicions it was serving as a conduit to groups that were linked to the Hamas terrorist organization.

       

      "KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the façade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in a 2006 statement announcing the move.  

       

      "Following the December 2001 asset freeze and law enforcement actions against the Hamas-affiliated Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and the al Qaeda-affiliated Global Relief Foundation (GRF), former GRF official Khaled Smaili established KindHearts from his residence in January 2002," continued the statement. "Kindhearts leaders and fundraisers once held leadership or other positions with HLF and GRF."

       

      Intelligence confirmed the connection between KindHearts and Hamas in Lebanon, the statement continued. The Treasury Department documented more than $100,000 sent to the Lebanon-based group between July and December in 2002, and another $150,000 was sent between February and July in 2003.

       

      Half a million dollars in support was pledged at a fundraiser that was supposedly intended for a local mosque in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in October 2003 as well; however, the vast majority of funds collected was to be sent to Hamas overseas, noted government officials.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

       

      The "Kindhearts" group, which denied the charge, claimed in court that it had not had a chance to defend itself prior to the government freezing its assets.