2nd man charged in terrorism TV case

Associated Press
Date: 11-20-06

By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A man was charged Monday with supporting terrorists by enabling customers to obtain satellite broadcasts of a Hezbollah television station, the second person accused in a case that has drawn scrutiny over how far the government can go in claiming someone is aiding terrorist groups.

Saleh Elahwal, 53, of Matawan, N.J., and Javed Iqbal, 42, of Staten Island, could each face up to 110 years in prison if they are convicted of all 11 counts in a rewritten indictment unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. They pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for both declined to comment outside court. Prosecutors said weeks ago they planned to bring additional charges as they as they collect evidence and build a case.

Iqbal, a Pakistani businessman, was charged in August with helping his customers receive broadcasts of al Manar, which was designated by the U.S. government this year as a global terrorist entity. At the time, the charges against him carried a potential prison term of five years.

Al Manar, launched in 1991, features news programming that promotes Hezbollah's positions and shows statements from the terror group and speeches from its leader, the government has said.

As part of their probe, FBI agents searched two storefronts in Brooklyn where Iqbal worked and at his residence, where multiple satellite dishes helped him distribute the broadcasts to New York-area customers through a Brooklyn company called HDTV Limited, prosecutors said.

The indictment accused the men of carrying out the scheme from September 2005 through August.

Iqbal's representatives criticized the government's case after his August arrest, saying his First Amendment rights were violated.


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