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June 23, 2005 - Image 23

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2005-06-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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American people," Kourani said. He
said he believed the religious scholar —
who, along with those attending the
fund-raising meetings, has not been
identified — because "in Lebanon, we
usually listen to our religious scholars."
He told the court through tears that
he wanted to go home to take care of
his wife and two seriously ill sons and
that he did not know the orphans he
was trying to help came from families
that supported Hezbollah.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth
Chadwell told the court that Kourani
"did not commit any violent acts in this
country nor did it appear he was here to
do so," but pushed for 60 months
imprisonment, the maximum sentence
allowed by the plea bargain.
Chadwell said, "Once Hezbollah
receives money, it is fungible." He said
it is not audited and even if money did
go to help orphans, the orphans and
martyrs program is a very useful recruit-
ment tool to enlist other martyrs, mean-
ing Hezbollah fighters, including sui-
cide bombers.
Chadwell reminded the court about
the hundreds of U.S. Marines killed in
their barracks while serving as peace-
keepers, highlighting the case of "CIA
Chief of Station Higgins who was there
as an unarmed peacemaker."
"Hezbollah is effectively an arm of
Iran," said Chadwell. He said Hezbollah
"pays attention to these kinds of cases
and that the judge should send the mes-
sage: "Don't come here."
Before announcing his sentence,
Judge Cleland told Kourani, "I am sorry
about your sons, and I hope they sur-
vive and prosper, but we must remem-
ber that you separated yourself from
them voluntarily by being smuggled
into the country. The crimes since then
have been built on that illegitimate
foundation. The distance from your
family is of your own making."
After reminding him that he had
admitted to raising money for a terrorist
organization, the judge told Kourani he
would give him six months' credit for
time served, calling it "a fair application
of the court's sentencing discretion,"
recognizing impending deportation and
the expense of maintaining prisoners.
Judge Cleland added that if Kourani
is not deported upon release, he will be
subject to probation for three years.
According to the plea bargain, Kourani
waived any appeal rights, so after the
U.S. attorney asked for the indictment
to be dismissed and Cleland did so,
Kourani, looking haggard and unkempt
in his pale green prison outfit, was
handcuffed and led back to his holding
cell to await transfer to prison. ❑

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6/23

2005

23

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