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United States v. Marzook

April 4, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MOUSA MOHAMMED ABU MARZOOK, MUHAMMAD HAMID KHALIL SALAH, AND ABDELHALEEM HASAN ABDELRAZIQ ASHQAR, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On August 19, 2004, a Grand Jury returned a multiple-count, Second Superseding Indictment (the "Indictment") against Defendant Muhammad Hamid Khalil Salah ("Salah" or "Defendant") and his Co-Defendants, Abdelhaleem Hasan Abdelraziq Ashqar ("Ashqar") and Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook ("Marzook"). Defendant Salah moves to dismiss Count I of the Indictment. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Salah's motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Overview of Count I

Count I of the Indictment charges Defendant Salah with conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1962(d). Count I is premised upon and related to Salah's alleged support of the Hamas terrorist organization, both prior to and after the United States designated Hamas as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization and a Foreign Terrorist Organization ("FTO"). The Indictment identifies Hamas, a group of individuals associated in fact, as a RICO enterprise. (R. 59-1; Second Superseding Indictment at ¶ 2.) It alleges that Hamas, among other things, has called for violent terrorist attacks and engaged in numerous terrorist attacks aimed at Israeli military personnel, police officers, and civilians. (Id. at ¶ 1B.)

II. Alleged Overt Acts

A. Alleged Pre-Designation Activities

The Indictment alleges that Salah committed the following overt acts in furtherance of the purported RICO conspiracy before the United States designated Hamas as a Specially Designated Terrorist Organization or a FTO. Beginning no later than 1990, Salah allegedly participated in a Hamas security committee based in the United States. (Id. at ¶ 24C.) As a member of the security committee, Salah purportedly "compiled information on . . . Palestinian men . . . and their capacity to participate in terrorist activities against Israel." (Id.) In approximately September 1992, Salah allegedly purchased airline tickets in Chicago to facilitate the training of two co-conspirators. (Id. at ¶ 24E.) Those co-conspirators then purportedly used the tickets Salah had purchased to travel to the Middle East and receive advanced training in bomb-making. (Id.)

The Indictment alleges that in August 1992, Salah met and conferred with Co-Defendant Marzook and a co-conspirator "regarding the need to revitalize Hamas terrorist operations in the West Bank." (Id. at ¶ 24F.) To further this objective, Salah allegedly traveled from Chicago to the West Bank for meetings at which he purportedly discussed terrorist and political activities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Id. at ¶ 24G.) While in the West Bank, Salah allegedly learned that Hamas needed money to purchase weapons and other military supplies to carry out terrorist activities, and purportedly provided a co-conspirator with $50,000 from his bank in Chicago to make such purchases. (Id. at ¶ 24H.) The Indictment alleges that when Salah later returned to Chicago, he received a $50,000 check from Marzook as repayment. (Id. at ¶ 24K.)

In approximately September 1992, Salah allegedly met with a Hamas leader and learned that Hamas had recruits who were prepared to carry out terrorist attacks, provided that additional funding was available. (Id. at ¶ 24J.) He further learned that certain individuals were purportedly providing information about Hamas activities to Israeli authorities. (Id.) Salah allegedly provided this information to Marzook and others. (Id.) In approximately December 1992, Salah purportedly attempted to have a fake passport made for a co-conspirator in Chicago. (Id. at ¶ 24N.) Also in December 1992, Marzook allegedly contacted Salah to discuss Israel's deportation of 400 Hamas members. (Id. at ¶ 24O.) Between approximately December 29, 1992 and January 25, 1993, Salah allegedly "received into his Chicago based bank accounts a series of wire transfers, totaling approximately $985,000, from accounts with [Marzook], to be distributed to Hamas members in the West Bank and Gaza Strip." (Id. at ¶ 24R.) Salah allegedly traveled from Chicago to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in approximately late December 1992 to assess the ability of Hamas to continue to function and carry out terrorist attacks following the deportations, and to deliver money to Hamas members. (Id. at ¶ 24Q.)

Salah purportedly made another trip from the United States to the West Bank on or about January 13, 1993. (Id. at ¶ 24S.) While en route to the Middle East, Salah allegedly stopped in London, England to meet with a co-conspirator. (Id. at ¶ 24T.) The Indictment alleges that after Salah arrived in Israel, he arranged to have approximately $230,000 from his bank accounts in Chicago transferred to him for distribution to Hamas members in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Id. at ¶ 24U.) The Indictment further alleges that while Salah was in Israel, he met with a co-conspirator and various members of Hamas to discuss terrorist activities and provide them with money. (Id. at ¶¶ 24V, W, X.) On or about January 25, 1993, while in Israel, Israeli authorities arrested Salah. (Id. at ¶ 24Y.) He remained incarcerated in Israel until approximately 1997. (Id. at ¶ 1J.) Salah allegedly retained his membership in Hamas during this term of imprisonment. (Id.)

B. Alleged Post-Designation Activities

The Indictment further alleges that in 1997, following his term of imprisonment in Israel, Salah returned to the United States and continued working for Hamas by recruiting Individual A to join Hamas and travel to the Middle East. (Id. at ¶ 24OO.) Salah allegedly assisted Individual A with travel arrangements to Israel to conduct Hamas-related business. (Id. at ¶ 24PP.) Individual A, at the direction of Salah, then purportedly traveled to Israel and the West Bank, provided money to the family of an imprisoned co-conspirator, attempted to meet with the imprisoned co-conspirator, scouted locations in and around Jerusalem for suitable targets for future terrorist attacks, attempted to enter the Gaza Strip to visit with a Hamas leader, and met with various Hamas members. (Id. at ¶¶ 24QQ, RR, SS, TT, UU, VV.) During Individual A's trip to Israel, he allegedly discussed the progress that he was making with Salah, and Salah allegedly discussed Individual A's trip with Hamas members located in the West Bank. (Id. at ¶¶ 24WW, XX.) According to the Indictment, when Individual A returned to the United States, Salah debriefed him regarding his trip, told him that he was pleased with the success of the trip and informed him that future trips would be requested. (Id. at ¶¶ 24YY, ZZ.) Individual A also purportedly provided Salah with a photograph he had received of Salah with two co-conspirators. (Id. at ¶ 24AAA.)

Additionally, in or about April 2001, Salah allegedly provided sworn answers in a civil lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Boim v. Quranic Literacy Inst. and Holy Land Found. for Relief and Dev., No. 00 ...


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