RealNews

Wife decries terror arrest

The wife of one of eight men charged with terrorist ties accused the government Sunday of trampling her husband’s civil rights by relying on private conversations in which he expressed political opinions as evidence that he belonged to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Federal authorities taped Ghassan Ballut of Tinley Park and Hatim Fariz, a former Chicago-area Muslim, allegedly discussing a “successful” suicide bombing in Israel, among other things, according to a federal indictment. The two men were arrested Feb. 20. Ballut’s wife, Hanan, said her husband is innocent of any affiliation with the Islamic Jihad and had been targeted because he was an outspoken Muslim community leader who often lambasted U.S. foreign policy toward the Palestinians. “What kind of evidence is this?” she said in a news conference organized by local civil and Muslim rights leaders at a North Side hall. “What about his freedom of speech?” In a 50-count indictment, federal authorities charged Ghassan Ballut, Fariz and two Florida men–Sami al-Arian and Sameeh Hammoudeh–with providing “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization and with “financing, extolling, and assisting acts of terror,” according to the indictment. Full Story

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