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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Supports Terrorist Label Given to Saudi Man

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Office of Foreign Assets Control properly designated Yassin Abdullah Kadi as a specially designated global terrorist, a federal judge ruled.

Kadi, a citizen of Saudi Arabia with alleged financial ties to Osama bin Laden, sued the Department of Treasury for wrongfully seizing his assets and violating his constitutional rights. He also claimed OFAC violated the Administrative Procedures Act by relying on noncredible sources like news articles and websites.

U.S. District Judge John Bates wholly rejected these claims.

"Kadi's argument that the government is categorically foreclosed from considering 'hearsay' sources is wrong," Bates wrote Monday. "Courts, including the D.C. Circuit, have held that hearsay evidence can be considered as part of the administrative record ... Accordingly, OFAC's reliance on newspaper articles ... was entirely proper."

For Kadi, that record consists of more than 2,800 pages. OFAC used the record, which also included extensive submissions made by Kadi during the reconsideration process, to designate Kadi as a global terrorist.

The record shows that Kadi acted for or on behalf of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and Makhtab al-Khidamat, and that he gave financial and technological support to al-Qaida, Hamas and the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society, according to Bates' 69-page decision.

Kadi argued that OFAC's record failed to support its findings that he gave support to terrorist organizations, including the Muwafaq Foundation and other specially designated global terrorist groups. He claimed that other countries had vindicated him for similar charges.

OFAC says, however, that one of Kadi's Albanian-based companies, Karavan, gave money to Muwafaq under the guise of it being for "charitable causes."

Bates brushed off Kadi's claim that OFAC "simply ignored" his explanation that Muwafaq was an organization engaged in charitable activities. Kadi had said the government believes Muwafaq is a front for bin Laden because USA Today reported that.

"To the extent Kadi contends that newspaper articles cannot be relied upon by the government at all, that proposition is not well-grounded," Bates wrote. "As already stated, reliance on hearsay is plainly allowed. Furthermore, reliance on newspaper articles has been permitted to 'fill in evidentiary gaps when there is corroboration,' as well as to provide background information."

Bates also supported OFAC's conclusion that evidence connected Kadi to Muwafaq, and Muwafaq to financing terrorism.

"Ultimately, Kadi's arguments attacking the sufficiency of the evidence before OFAC are without merit," he wrote. "OFAC relied on more information than Kadi's own voluminous statements and submissions, although it is evident that OFAC seriously considered his explanations, asked follow-up questions, and requested additional information in order to address continuing areas of concern."

The judge approved the government's motion for summary judgment, dismissing Kadi's claims that his designation as a global terrorist and the freeze of his assets violated his constitutional rights.

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