Good news: Holy Land founder gets 65 years
50-year old Shukri Abu Baker, one of the founders of the Holy Land Foundation, was sentenced by a Dallas court to 65 years in prison
on Wednesday for his role as a fundraiser for Hamas.
Shukri Abu Baker, 50, of Garland, Texas, was the first of five members of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development to be sentenced.
Another member, Mohammad El-Mezain, 55, was later sentenced to 180 months for one count of conspiracy to support a terrorist organization.
The charity leaders were convicted on charges ranging from supporting a terrorist organization to money laundering and tax fraud. The three men still to be sentenced - Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh - were convicted of conspiracy.
The charity itself was convicted on 32 counts. It was not accused of violence, but of bankrolling schools and social welfare programs that the US government says are controlled by Hamas.
The defendants said they only fed the needy and gave much-needed aid to a volatile region.
"I did it because I cared, not at the behest of Hamas," Abu Baker told the judge Wednesday.
US District Judge Jorge Solis cut off Abu Baker and told him: "You didn't tell the whole story. Palestinians were in a desperate situation, but that doesn't justify supporting Hamas."
That's a message that needs to get through to the Obama administration.