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Muslim charity asks judge to bar `secret evidence'. (Nation).

Attorneys for a Muslim charity whose assets have been frozen by the Bush administration asked a federal judge in Chicago March 14 to block the government from using secret evidence rules.

Global Relief Foundation, headquartered in Bridgeview, Ill., is suing to have its assets released. The charity's offices were raided Dec. 14 by Treasury Department officials who have accused the group of supporting terrorists.

The group filed for an emergency injunction after learning that government officials had contact with U.S. District Judge Warren R. Andersen, who is overseeing the case, without notifying them.

"We found out last week that they were going in and presenting evidence without our knowing, using the secret evidence rules," said Roger Simmons. "That's not the way things are supposed to operate in our adversarial system of justice."

This version of the secret evidence rules is part of the new powers granted to the administration under the anti-terrorism Patriot Act, which passed in October 2001. The government has previously used secret evidence in immigration cases.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Justice Department sent a letter to Andersen on March 8, which claims the evidence against Global Relief is "classified for reasons of national security."

Simmons said the government's actions deny Global Relief the constitutional right to face its accusers. "The core issue," he said, "is whether the United States government can shut down a United States charity without an indictment and without showing any evidence."
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Title Annotation:Global Relief Foundation
Author:Donovan, Gill
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 29, 2002
Words:241
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