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Tuesday Feb. 8, 2011 10:39 AM (EST+7)
US activist rejects FBI raid after Palestinian trips

Read more: US policy, terrorism, Patriot Act, freedom of speech, PFLP, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

RAMALLAH, Feb 8 (JMCC) - Four months after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the home of Chicago activist Hatem Abudayyeh, he calls the ongoing probe a witch hunt.

Abudayyeh believes that subpoenas issued by the FBI related to trips he and others organized to the occupied Palestinian territories.

Hatem Abudayyeh, head of an activist network in Chicago that deals in immigration and discrimination issues, says the trips he helped co-ordinate to the Palestinian territories were fact-finding and educational visits hosted by a women's organization and that he knew of no links to groups that could be considered involved in terrorism.

The federal government has divulged almost nothing about the focus of the probe, which included subpoenas demanding Abudayyeh and 22 other activists from Chicago, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids, Michigan, appear before a grand jury. A line in one Minneapolis subpoena says agents were looking for evidence of money paid directly or indirectly to Abudayyeh.

Abudayyeh says the trips were designed for left-wing activists who support the Palestinians' long battle to have their own homeland and who paid money to the Palestinian women's organization. That organization has links to a small, Marxist-oriented organization called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which was named in the subpoenas and is on the U.S. list of terrorist groups.

The 23 activists are refusing to appear in court, accusing the government of a crackdown on free speech and assembly. None of them have been charged with a crime at this time, although they risk going to jail for contempt of court.

Read the story at the Associated Press...







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