US: Mistrial declared for most defendants in Muslim charity trial

October 22, 2007 18:09

A US judge declared a mistrial Monday for most former leaders of a Muslim charity charged with financing Middle Eastern terrorists after jurors failed to reach a verdict. One of the defendants, former Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development Chairman Mohammed El-Mezain, was acquitted of most charges. The outcome came about an hour after a confusing scene in the courtroom, in which three former leaders of the group were initially found not guilty. But then when jurors were polled, three said those verdicts had been read incorrectly. In all, five former Holy Land leaders and the group were accused of providing aid to the Middle Eastern militant group Hamas. The US government designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1995 and again in 1997, making financial transactions with the group illegal.

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