Wed, Nov 21, 2007 at 2:07:07 pm PST
Former Howard University professor Abdelhaleem Ashqar was sentenced today to more than 11 years in prison for refusing to testify to a grand jury in a Hamas funding case.
CHICAGO: A former professor accused of providing money to Hamas terrorists was sentenced Wednesday to more than 11 years in prison and fined $5,000 for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury.
Abdelhaleem Ashqar, a former associate professor of business at Washington’s Howard University, showed no emotion as U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve imposed the sentence. But several relatives wept openly in the courtroom.
Ashqar was convicted earlier this year of criminal contempt and obstruction of justice for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating the Palestinian militant movement Hamas on June 25, 2003. But he was acquitted of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy aimed at bankrolling the terrorist group Hamas.
Before being sentenced, Ashqar delivered a nearly two-hour passionate statement describing the suffering of Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation and saying he would rather go to prison than divulge the secrets of Palestinian militants.
“The only option was to become a traitor or collaborator and that is something that I can’t do and will never do as long as I live,” he told the court.
This guy was a professor at a US University. Unbelievable. Yet... not... really.