Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In our Backyard..............

Two charged with providing Hezbollah TV in New York Mon Nov 20, 2:53 PM ET

NEW YORK (AFP) - Two men have been charged with terrorist offences in New York for allegedly providing access to a television station banned in the United States and linked to the Shiite militia group Hezbollah, prosecutors said.

Pakistani-born Javed Iqbal, 42, and US citizen Saleh Elahwal, 53, are accused of conspiring to provide viewers with satellite broadcasts by Al-Manar, an Arabic-language station seen as a mouthpiece for the Lebanese group.

They face a sentence of up to 110 years in jail if convicted on the charges of providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation.

According to prosecutors, Iqbal and Elahwal ran a satellite television business and allegedly offered to provide Al-Manar to an undercover agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
The station, which was listed as a terrorist entity by US authorities in March, allegedly paid thousands of dollars to Iqbal's firm in return.

Iqbal was arrested on related charges in August.

Court documents released at the time said that Iqbal was interviewed at New York's Kennedy airport in May on returning from a trip to Lebanon.

An FBI agent entered his satellite television store some two weeks later, when Iqbal was alleged to have offered broadcasts of the banned channel.

The indictment further alleges that the two shipped satellite receivers to Al-Manar.

"Javed Iqbal and Saleh Elahwal engaged in transactions that support the terrorist organisations Hezbollah and Al-Manar, and did so for financial profit," US attorney Michael Garcia said in a statement.

"As terrorist organisations become more sophisticated, it is critical that we respond using all the enforcement tools the law provides."

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