Prosecutors want Rafil Dhafir jailed on terrorism charges
August 20, 2005
Prosecutors want jail term in Iraqi charity case
SYRACUSE, N.Y. Federal prosecutors want at least a 24-year jail term for a Syracuse doctor found guilty of conspiring to violate U-S sanctions by sending money to Iraq through an illegal charity.Now, for the first time, prosecutors are alleging a possible link between 57-year-old Doctor Rafil Dhafir and terrorism. A memo filed Monday says Dhafir poses a national security threat through his connections to terrorist organizations. Prosecutors say Dhafir wrote that potential beneficiaries of his Help the Needy charity included Jamaa Islamia, which the U-S State Department has called a terrorist organization. The notes, found in Dhafir's suburban Syracuse home, also said money would go to holy warriors in Iraq. Terrorism wasn't mentioned in Dhafir's 17-month trial. He was convicted in February on 59 counts of fraud, tax evasion, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, money laundering, visa fraud, violating U-S sanctions against Iraq and lying to federal agents. Dhafir was convicted of misusing 2 (m) million dollars that donors gave to his charity and spending more than 500-thousand on himself and friends. Dhafir was not charged with helping terrorists. His lawyer says he knows nothing of the notes cited by prosecutors. Dhafir will be sentenced August 29th.