Two Americans face 110 year jail for a broadcasting venture
NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2006/DOD Release/ — An 11-count indictment was unsealed today charging Javed Iqbal, a/k/a "John Iqbal," 42, of Staten Island, N.Y., and Saleh Elahwal, 53, of Matawan, N.J., with providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization — Hizballah. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia of the Southern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge Mark J. Mershon of the New York Field Office of the FBI.
The indictment alleges that, through a company called HDTV Ltd., Iqbal and Elahwal conspired to broadcast Hizballah's TV station, Al Manar, to HDTV's customers from September 2005 through August 2006. "Al Manar" means "the beacon" in Arabic. In exchange, HDTV received payments of thousands of dollars from Al Manar. The indictment further alleges that Iqbal and Elahwal worked to provide electronic equipment relating to satellite television broadcasting to Hizballah through Al Manar.
Iqbal was arrested on related charges on Aug. 23, pursuant to a criminal complaint. Following his arrest, Iqbal was released on bail, which included electronic monitoring. At the time of Iqbal's arrest, federal agents executed simultaneous search warrants at his home in Staten Island and HDTV's offices in Brooklyn. Iqbal surrendered to law enforcement officials today. Elahwal was arrested at his home this morning. Both defendants will be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.
If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Iqbal and Elahwal each face a maximum sentence of 110 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Garcia praised the efforts of the FBI's Joint Terrorist Task Force in conducting the investigation. "Javed Iqbal and Saleh Elahwal engaged in transactions that support the terrorist organizations Hizballah and Al Manar, and did so for financial profit," stated U.S. Attorney Garcia. "As terrorist organizations become more sophisticated, it is critical that we respond using all the enforcement tools the law provides."
"The FBI will continue to police efforts by anyone to prop up designated terrorist organizations like Hizballah," announced FBI Assistant Director Mershon. "Material support can take many forms, including contractual relationships like the one these defendants entered into."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Miller is in charge of the prosecution.