Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Question of Belief Suspension

In court on Monday, Mr. Qatanani recounted his time in Israeli detention — describing being tied to a small chair with his hands bound, kept in a freezing cell, and subjected to starvation, violence and threats. Several of his supporters in the packed courtroom began quietly weeping as he spoke.

Threats? Threats kill?

“Judge, you cannot imagine,” Mr. Qatanani said, his voice breaking. “They say, ‘We will kill your family.’ They say: ‘You know what your family is doing now? We will go to them, we will burn them.’”

Mr. Qatanani paused to compose himself before telling Judge Riefkohl, “At that time, you feel that death is better than life.”


But -

During cross-examination, lawyers for the Department of Homeland Security — which oversees immigration proceedings — sought to link Mr. Qatanani to terrorist-affiliated groups and individuals.

Alan Wolf, a lawyer for Homeland Security, questioned Mr. Qatanani about his brother-in-law, Mahmoud Abu Hanoud, who was a senior Hamas military leader killed by the Israelis.

Mr. Qatanani said that Mr. Abu Hanoud was his wife’s brother, so he knew him but did not participate with him in political activities. Mr. Wolf also pressed Mr. Qatanani about his ties with the former imam of the Paterson, N.J., mosque, Mohammed el-Mezain, who was arrested and is currently facing retrial on charges of funneling money to Palestinian terrorist groups.

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