Charges Against Salah Delayed by Technicality
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (AP) _ A technicality held up the filing of charges Sunday against an Arab- American accused of helping finance the radical Muslim faction Hamas.
The proceeding was halted after Ahlam Haddad, the lawyer for Mohammed Salah, 39, complained she had not received a copy of the charges in advance. The judge, Col. Shlomo Isaacson, ordered the Chicago-area man to remain in custody until the hearing could resume.
Ms. Haddad has argued that Israeli security forces arrested Salah seven weeks ago with another Arab-American to buttress its case for expelling some 400 Palestinians on Dec. 17 following the slayings of six soldiers.
Israeli authorities contend the deportees were activists in Hamas and another extremist Islamic group responsible for violence in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian-born Salah, who sat calmly in a tan overcoat with his feet shackled, has denied any connection to Hamas or its activists. Salah says he was distributing charity money to needy Palestinians and had no knowledge of meeting anyone affiliated with Hamas, Ms. Haddad said.
Before the proceeding was halted, the prosecutor, Maj. Dan Efroni, said Salah was being charged with ″being active in the Hamas and directly linked to the high-ranking and limited leadership of this organization.″ He also said Salah came to Israel to help finance a military branch of Hamas.
Salah told reporters he had been badgered during his interrogations.
″The chief interrogator said to me, ’You are my enemy. You will leave here a loser. ... There is no chance of you winning here,‴ he said before the hearing. ″I am challenging that.″
Salah and a second Palestinian-born American, Mohammed Jarad, 36, also from the Chicago area, were arrested on Jan. 25.
Salah has been held in solitary confinement, and Ms. Haddad asked the judge Sunday to put him in a normal cell. Isaacson ordered the request reviewed.
Jarad, who suffers from congenital heart disease, was transferred to a prison hospital last month. He has been accused of membership in Hamas and rendering services to the group.