Man charged with aiding Hamas bailed

A 45-year-old man accused by the Israeli government of funding terrorist activity in the West Bank will be released Sunday on $3,500 bail, his lawyer told relatives Thursday. Hasan Hajmohammad, co-founder of the Islamic charity Baitulmaal, was stopped by military officials at an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank and was taken into an Israeli detention center April 3, said his brother, Abdullah Hajmohammad, who was interpreting for his brother's attorney Wisam Ighbaria. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Abdullah Hajmohammad said from the West Bank that Israeli military officials last week charged his brother with funding a terrorist organization after he transferred $20,000 from a US bank to The Charity Association of Jenin, based in the West Bank, in 2003. The Israeli government said it would not comment until after the trial. Hasan Hajmohammad has been detained in the Sharon Prison for about three months. Even after he posts bail, he must remain in the country to face trial on the charges, his brother said. According to the Israeli government, The Charity Association of Jenin was outlawed in 2002 because it was a front for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The group's director was Jamal Abu Hija, a suspected Hamas operative who was arrested in 2002. But Abdullah Hajmohammad said the $20,000 was used to help pay for the slaughtering of animals for an Eid celebration, an annual Islamic holy celebration. "This is not supporting terrorist activity at all," Abdullah Hajmohammad said. "I feel that my brother knows this association helps poor people. He doesn't know any other activities about this association." Hasan Hajmohammad had been doing charity work through parts of Africa and Pakistan, said Therlyn Bibi, president of Baitulmaal. He traveled to Jordan to visit family and was crossing the Jordan-Israel border to see his brother in the West Bank when he was stopped by Israeli military officials, Bibi said. "This man has never done anything except help people," she said. "This is why I can't imagine seeing him there, because he's such a good guy." Though Hasan Hajmohammad is a Jordanian citizen, he and his wife had been in the process of getting their American citizenship, Bibi said. He has lived in Texas since 1989 and has twin 6-year-old daughters who are US citizens. His wife and daughters have been in Jordan since May but have been unable to visit him. Bibi said because of Hajmohammad's citizenship status, US authorities were unable to help him. "It is important for any government dealing with the threat of terrorism to monitor the methods by which those terror groups are funded," said Caren Panzer, spokeswoman for the Israel Consul-General to the Southwest.