October 22nd, 2007 16:02 EST
Case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF), stunning defeat for the prosecution.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called today's declaration of a mistrial in the case against the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Muslim charity a "stunning defeat" for the prosecution.
CAIR also said the absence of a single guilty verdict on 197 charges brought by the prosecution in the terror financing trial will help reinforce the Muslim community's faith in America's system of justice.
The jury initially brought back "not guilty" verdicts on the government's most serious charges of material support for terrorism against the five HLF officials. However, jurors were deadlocked on other charges, forcing the judge to declare the mistrial.
SEE: Judge Declares Mistrial in Holy Land Foundation Case (Dallas Morning News)
SEE ALSO: HLF Juror Says 'There Was So Little Evidence' (AP)
View the jury's verdict for one of the defendant's here.
In a statement reacting to the declaration of a mistrial, CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed applauded the efforts of the jury.
Ahmed's statement said in part:
"After 19 days of deliberation, the jurors did not return even a single guilty verdict on any of the almost 200 charges against these men, whose only 'crime' was providing food, clothing and shelter to Palestinian women and children. It seems clear that the majority of the jury agreed with many observers of the trial who believe the charges were built on fear, not facts. This is a stunning defeat for prosecutors and a victory for America's legal system.
"The American Muslim community will continue to fight for justice and for the right to help those who are in need, whether in this nation or overseas. Today's developments in the HLF case send the message that a hard-working jury of ordinary Americans will weigh the facts objectively and will resist pressure to convict based on guilt by association. Charitable giving should be honored, not criminalized."
Ahmed added that this is just the latest defeat for government prosecutors in such cases. Similar conspiracy charges brought in Illinois and Florida found little traction with jurors.
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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