UN takes charity founder off Al Qaida list

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 8:42 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013
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GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — A Saudi Arabian government official who started an Islamic charity in Oregon has been taken off a United Nations list of people subject to sanctions for ties to al-Qaida but remains on a similar U.S. list.

The U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against al-Qaida removed Soliman al-Buthe, who now is a consultant to Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Municipalities, from the list Monday.

Al-Buthe still faces arrest if he returns to the United States. A federal indictment alleges he smuggled $150,000 in cash collected by Al Haramain Islamic Foundation in Ashland to Saudi Arabia in 2000 to help terrorists in Chechnya. His co-defendant, Iranian-American tree surgeon Pete Seda, is serving 33 months in prison after being convicted of conspiracy and tax fraud.

Al-Buthe's attorney Tom Nelson said the U.N. action is some vindication for his client, but al-Buthe is still trying to get off the U.S. terrorism list.

"It all goes back to the days immediately after 9/11, when the government embarked on a crusade to find terrorists under every bed," Nelson said. "A lot of innocent people got sucked in and harmed very significantly as a result. More and more of those cases are coming out all the time."

Al-Buthe said in a statement that all he ever wanted was a fair chance to clear his name.

"While the Americans still refuse to disclose reasons behind their actions, the United Nations now prohibits unfair practices. It was this change that allowed me to clear my name."

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