WASHINGTON (JTA) — A former Michigan congressman was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison on for assisting a charity accused of funding terrorist groups.
Mark Siljander, 59, of Great Falls, Va., was sentenced Wednesday on charges of obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. He had pleaded guilty to the charges in July 2010.
An Islamic American Relief Agency fund-raiser from Chicago allegedly hired Siljander to lobby for the removal of the agency from a U.S. Senate list of charities suspected of having terrorist ties, The Wall Street Journal reported. Siljander did not disclose this information and lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during its probe.
According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, the Islamic American Relief Agency collected funds in boxes marked “Allah” and “Israel,” showing that the money was going toward attacks in Israel, and collected money in at least one Western European country that went straight to Hamas. The charity also has been connected to the Al-Aksa Foundation
Siljander, a Republican, served in Congress from 1981 to 1987. He had faced up to 15 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
Abdel Azim El-Siddig, the fund-raiser from Chicago, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and got two years probation, according to a report by Main Justice, a news website tracking the federal justice system. Mubarak Hamed, a Sudanese American who had been the charity’s director, got four years and ten months.
Receiving six months probation each were Ali Mohamed Bagegni, a Libyan American and IARA board member, and Ahmad Mustafa, an Iraqi citizen and IARA fundraiser. Both men were credited with assisting the prosecution.