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The government acted legally when it froze the assets of an Islamic charity being investigated for terrorist links, an appeals court said Tuesday. In upholding a lower court, the three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not examine whether the Global Relief Foundation actually supported terrorism. The panel ruled against the charity’s contention that the freezing of its assets last December violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and the Constitution. The charity noted that the act, amended after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, gives the president authority to freeze assets in which “any foreign country or national” has an interest. The charity contends the law does not apply because it is a U.S. corporation. The court rejected that claim, noting if it were true, the al-Qaida terrorist network could get around the law by incorporating a U.S. subsidiary. The court also rejected the charity’s contention that it was unconstitutional for the lower court to consider secret evidence. Roger Simmons, an attorney for the charity, said he will appeal to the entire 7th Circuit, and to the Supreme Court if necessary. He said Tuesday’s ruling “puts me in the box of having to go to a judge who’s looking at secret evidence who says, ‘I’m scared and I’m going to shut you down,’ without telling me why he’s scared or what’s bothering him.” Global Relief has not been charged with a terror-related crime and has denied links to terrorism, saying its purpose is to provide humanitarian relief. The federal government says the charity has received funding from a suspected financier of al-Qaida, and alleges that the charity had contact with Osama bin Laden’s former personal secretary. Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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