Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir is an American Iraqi-born physician, who was sentenced on October 28, 2005, to 22 years in prison for violating the Iraqi sanctions by sending money to Iraq through his charity front Help the Needy, (disambiguation), and for fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, and a variety of other nonviolent crimes. Five other people, including his wife, had already pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the case. Dr. Dhafir is believed to the only U.S. citizen ever to be held in prison for violating the sanctions on Iraq. His attorney filed a motion to dismiss as he accused the U.S. government of selective prosecuting Dhafir by singling him out because of his race, religion and cultural background. In February 2005 Dhafir was convicted of 59 out of 60 charges. Dhafir had run an unregistered (and unaudited) charity, “Help the Needy”, and most of those charges were related to that charity. The 59 convictions included:
- not recording the $400,000 of his own money that he contributed to the fund;
- using a portion of the funds he collected to aid needy for his own benefit;
- circumventing the laws against sending funds to Iraq, without a license;
- defrauding Medicare.
In one of his few interview from prison Dhafir told the New Standard website, “This is part of a campaign against Muslims and Arabs” … (full long text wikipedia, last modified on 10 September 2008).
Nov. 3, 2005 – The Central New York physician who founded and ran an unregistered charity for Iraqis suffering under UN sanctions and the rule of Saddam Hussein was sentenced last week to 22 years for a series of white collar crimes including fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and violations of the US law enforcing the Iraq sanctions … (full text).
The video: Dealing with Non-Muslims, Shaikh Rafil Dhafir explains on dealing with non Muslims, 3.23 min, June 25, 2008.
Memo To Obama And McCain: Add To Your To-Do List, Aug 05, 2008.
Syracuse oncologist Rafil A. Dhafir – Iraq and USA. (He) was arrested 19 months ago by the Justice Department and was described by Attorney General John D. Ashcroft as a terrorism supporter. But no terrorism-related charges were filed against him. (Operation Free Dhafir).
FREE DR RAFI DHAFIR … (Press Release:), Aug 28, 2008: Appeal for Syracuse Doctor Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for Helping Iraqi People … (Cleveland Indy Media Center).
News of Reckoning August 2008, by day-of-reckoning “Dr Rafil Dhafir, a Syracuse oncologist who helped raise almost $5 million in humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people,” is appealing a conviction for wire fraud and other charges connected to his efforts to help Iraqis … (full text).
Campaign in his favour: We ask for your aid in helping free Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a 56-year old oncologist of Arab descent who was arrested February 26, 2003, for breaking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (Iraqi Sanctions) in Syracuse, NY by sending humanitarian assistance to Iraq. He is believed to be the only person ever to be jailed for sending humanitarian aid to Iraq … (full text, Feb 11, 2005).
Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir at Terre Haute Prison’s New Communications Management Unit – by Katherine Hughes, June 17, 2007.
Iraqi-Born Doctor Guilty of Charity Fraud. (full text).
Iraqi-Born Doctor Sentenced, October 28, 2005 (scroll down).
Syracuse, NY; Feb. 29, 2004 – A year ago, two federal investigators and a New York state trooper followed Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a prominent physician, as he pulled out of his driveway around seven in the morning and headed to work at his medical clinic outside Syracuse. A few blocks later, they ordered Dhafir to pull his tan 2001 Lexus over to the side of the road and arrested him on charges that he violated the sanctions against Iraq. In nearby Fayetteville, Osameh Al-Wahaidy, a college math instructor and imam for a local prison, heard a knock at his door. When he opened it, he was face-to-face with federal investigators holding two warrants – one to search his home, the other to arrest him. At the same time, Ayman Jarwan, executive director of the charity Help the Needy, opened the door of his Syracuse apartment and met the same fate … (full long text).
The case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir case centers on a charity he founded called Help the Needy. The government alleges Dhafir illegally raised millions of dollars for the charity and violated U.S. sanctions by sending at least $160,000 to Iraq as well as aid. UNICEF estimates 500,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of the U.S.-backed sanctions. Dr. Dhafir is believed to the only U.S. citizen ever to be held in prison for violating the sanctions on Iraq. He has yet to be convicted of a crime … (full text, August 20, 2004).
Katherine Hughes was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1960s. She left Scotland in 1976 and had a wide variety of travel, educational, and work experiences before discovering clay in mid-life. She has lived in Syracuse, New York, since 1988 with her American husband whom she met at a Quaker study and retreat center in Birmingham, England. She has a degree in Psychology and Religion (B.A. Syracuse University, 1991) and is currently studying for a BFA in Ceramics at Syracuse University. She has felt passionately about the defense of civil liberties since the age of fourteen when she saw a documentary of the Allies going into the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Over the last thirty years she has read hundreds of first hand accounts of 1930/40s Europe in an effort to gain understanding of how ordinary people could let something like this happen. This concern prompted her to respond to a call from the ACLU for court watchers at the trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir. Dhafir is a man of Muslim faith and Iraqi descent and was held without bail for 19 months prior to his trial. On the day of his arrest Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that “supporters of terrorism” had been apprehended, and just prior to the start of the trial New York State Governor Pataki reiterated this charge … (full text, Aug 19, 2008).
link: Tampa’s Terror for Kids – Guest Post Joe Kaufman, 21 Aug 2008.