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Politics : World Affairs Discussion

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To: Chas. who wrote (3325)1/16/2004 5:00:07 AM
From: lorne   of 3959
Michigan Man Accused of Hezbollah Membership
Thursday, January 15, 2004

DETROIT — A Lebanese man living in Dearborn was charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday with fighting, recruiting and raising money for the Islamic militant group Hezbollah (search), listed by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.

The indictment accuses Mahmoud Youssef Kourani (search) of working in Lebanon (search) and later within the United States for Hezbollah, which led a guerrilla war against Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon.

Federal prosecutors said Kourani conspired with his brother, who they said is Hezbollah's chief of military security for southern Lebanon.

Kourani, 32, pleaded innocent Thursday, and a bail hearing was set for Tuesday. He could get 15 years in prison.

"The charges are outrageous, absurd and I believe they are malicious," said his attorney, Nabih Ayad.

According to the indictment, Kourani entered the United States illegally through Mexico in 2001, took up residence in the Detroit area and hid his Muslim identity by not shaving his beard and not attending a mosque.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Collins said Kourani raised "a substantial sum" and offered other support to Hezbollah.

He has been in custody since his conviction last year in a separate case for harboring an illegal alien, authorities said. He completed a six-month sentence last week and had been awaiting deportation.
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