WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Treasury Department removed from its designated terrorist list a Chicago man who was convicted in Israel of assisting Hamas.
Muhammad Salah, 59, who spent 4 1/2 years in an Israeli prison for funding the terrorist organization, was taken off the list on Wednesday by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. The designation had meant that Salah could not get a job or make simple purchases without the department’s permission.
Two months ago, backed by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the American Friends Service Committee, he filed a lawsuit for his removal.
"A strong message was sent, and that is all Americans are entitled to their due process and essential rights," the Anti-Discrimination Committee said in a statement.
The organizations had challenged the designation in part because it forbade them from assisting Salah — a ban they said violated their First Amendment protections.
Salah in 1997 had returned to the United States from his Israeli prison term to discover that the U.S. had placed him on its designated terrorist list because of his conviction in 1993 in Israel for funding Hamas. Israeli authorities had arrested Salah after finding $95,000 in his eastern Jerusalem hotel room.
Salah has claimed for years that his guilty plea in the case was made under duress.
He was acquitted in 2007 of U.S. charges that he funded Hamas, but he was convicted of lying under oath in a separate civil case brought by the family of an American teenager, David Boim, murdered by Hamas.