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article imageMuslim white-collar criminal transfered to special Indiana prison

By kurtrat     Mar 10, 2007 in World
Former Manlius, New York oncologist Rafil Dhafir transfered from federal prison in New Jersey to new, restricted unit in Indiana.
Dhafir was convicted of some white-collar crimes in 2005, but for some reason, he has been transfered to a unit in Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institute dedicated to what a prison official called "terrorist inmates."
Dhafir is one of 17 inmates in the institution's former death row. 15 are Muslims like himself.
A spokesperson for the US Bureau of Prisons told The Washington Post that all the inmates moved to this unit so far were convicted in terrorism-related cases.
It was only after Dhafir's conviction that government prosecutors brought up the idea of terrorist activities.
On February 26, 2003, Dr. Rafil Dhafir of Manlius (a suburb of Syracuse), New York and three other people involved with the charity "Help the Needy" were arrested and charged with breaking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (Iraqi sanctions), 12 counts of money-laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money-laundering. For providing humanitarian aid to Iraq, Dhafir was placed on Saddam Hussein's hit list.
Dr. Dhafir helped establish Help the Needy (HTN) to assist children and their families in Iraq. He has served as the President of the Islamic Society of Central New York and is a naturalized citizen of Iraqi descent.
According to the Free Rafil Dhafir website (, federal agents interrogated approximately 150 predominantly Muslim families who had donated money to HTN. Furthermore, the website asserts that this was the largest interrogation of Muslims ever conducted by Federal agents at one time.
Dhafir was never charged with being a terrorist or being connected to terrorist activities. He was convicted of felonies involving defrauding donors, violating US sanctions against Iraq and mishandling nearly two million dollars given to HTN. The jury never was told anything about terrorism.
Federal prosecutors asked US District Judge Norman Mordue before the trial not to allow lawyers from either side to mention terrorism. But in a pre-sentencing memo to the judge, after Dhafir's conviction, government prosecutors said they had found evidence in Dhafir's home suggesting he intended to send some of the donations to a terrorist organization in Iraq.
Because of these alleged terrorist connections, Dhafir received a 22-year sentence. The judge recommended that Dhafir be imprisoned in the federal prison at Otisville so that his wife could visit him. Instead he was sent to a prison in Fairton, New Jersey, and now, in this latest installment to the saga, he has been sent to Indiana.
It seems to me that, since the jury never heard anything about any terrorist activities, Dhafir is serving a sentence that isn't based on the crimes for which he was convicted.
I live in Syracuse and am interested in this case. If people would like me to follow-up and find more in-depth information, I could try to find people locally to interview about this case.
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