US prosecutors to seek courtroom restrictions for Hamas funding case

Shin-Bet agents to testify at trial of Palestinian accused of laundering money for Hamas.

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December 20, 2005 18:56
1 minute read.
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funeral hamas gaza 88. (photo credit: )

 
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Federal prosecutors say they plan to call at least four Israeli officials, including two members of the Shin-Bet, at a hearing for a Palestinian man accused of laundering millions of dollars for terrorist activities. Assistant US Attorney Joseph Ferguson wrote in a court filing late Friday that the witnesses' appearance at Muhammad Salah's hearing would require special courtroom restrictions. The hearing scheduled to being in March is to determine whether statements made by Salah during a 1993 interrogation by police can be used at his trial. Salah is charged with taking part in a 15-year racketeering conspiracy to provide money and weapons to Hamas. He and others are accused of using bank accounts in several states to launder money used for murders, kidnappings, assaults and passport fraud. Salah has said he has no connection with Hamas. He claims police tortured him to coerce a 1993 confession. Prosecutors contend Salah's statements were voluntary and his stories about the interrogation have been inconsistent. Ferguson did not say what restrictions prosecutors will seek for the hearing, but wrote that the Shin-Bet's activities and identities of its agents "are classified under Israeli law." As a result, prosecutors would seek "courtroom procedures necessary to safeguard the personal safety of witnesses ... and certain of the information they possess," Ferguson said. Salah's lawyer, Michael Deutsch, said he wants to be able to freely question agents who interrogated Salah, find out what procedures the agents followed and see any written reports. Deutsch said the hearing also should be open to the public.

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