Doctor orginally accused of funding terrorism sentenced again

More than six years after a controversial case that began with prosecutors talking about money being funneled to terrorists, Manlius doctor Rafil Dhafir has been resentenced, but not the way his supporters wanted.

Dhafir was convicted on 59 federal counts, including conspiring to violate US sanctions imposed on Iraq, tax evasion, and money laundering. Prosecutors say he was funneling money to Iraq through his Help the Needy charity. Prosecutors say he also had ties to terrorist organizations.

U.S. Attorneys said Dr. Dhafir purposely circumvented banking regulations in an attempt to avoid detection and scrutiny. He made deposits just below the level that would trigger certain paperwork and alerts.

In 2005, Dhafir was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Friday, Dhafir was back in federal court. The hearing comes after a US Court of Appeals asked the judge to consider an alternative way of calculating Dhafir's sentence. Judge Normal Mordue did that, but still resentenced Dhafir to the same length punishment.

In today's actions, Judge Mordue emphasized the Dhafir's conduct involved multiple violations over a four year period. Judge Mordue also points out Dhafir could have accomplished humanitarian goals without breaking the law.

During Dhafir's original trial, and in the years since, many supporters said he was treated unfairly. At the time of Dhafir's sentencing, the Islamic Society of CNY said it made them feel as if they could not get equal treatment under the law.

Dr. Dhafir's arrest in 2003 came after federal agents spent a day raiding his home in a pricey neighborhood on the edge of the village of Fayetteville. Federal investigators initially claimed Dhafir was leading a group that was funneling money to Iraq to support terrorists. His ultimate conviction did not include charges related to terrorism.

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