Islamic charity leader sentenced to nearly 3 years

By

Published:

 

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- The leader of the U.S. branch of a defunct Islamic charity has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison after being convicted of helping to smuggle $150,000 to Saudi Arabia.

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan said Tuesday in Eugene that while he has no doubt the money went to Islamic fighters battling the Russian army in Chechnya, there's no proof directly linking Pete Seda to terrorism.

For that reason Hogan said he wouldn't apply the so-called "terrorism enhancement" that could have sent Seda to prison for eight years.

Instead, Hogan sentenced Seda to 33 months in prison.

Seda is an Iranian-born U.S. citizen who ran the U.S. chapter of the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation based in Ashland.

He was convicted last year of tax fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.