National Security Press Release

04.30.09

Federal Court to Hear Argument in KindHearts Case Tomorrow

ACLU Challenges Government Ability to Freeze Charity's Assets and Designate It as a Terrorist Without Due Process

TOLEDO- An Ohio federal court will hear arguments tomorrow, May 1 in Toledo in a case challenging the government’s authority to freeze an Ohio-based charity’s assets and designate it as a terrorist without due process. The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Ohio and several civil rights lawyers brought the lawsuit on behalf of KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, Inc., whose property was frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) more than three years ago based simply on the assertion that KindHearts was “under investigation.” OFAC then threatened to designate KindHearts as a “specially designated global terrorist” based on classified evidence, again without providing due process.

“OFAC unilaterally froze KindHearts’ property and shut the charity down based on secret evidence, without giving it any notice or a meaningful opportunity to defend itself,” said Hina Shamsi, an ACLU cooperating attorney who will argue the case. “As the 9/11 Commission staff warned, OFAC’s unfettered authority is a dangerous and powerful weapon wielded by mid-level bureaucrats, and we’re asking the court to find the freeze unconstitutional. OFAC must also provide due process before carrying out its threat to designate KindHearts as a terrorist and causing irreparable harm to the charity’s most valuable asset – its reputation.”

WHAT: Oral arguments in the case KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development, Inc. v. Geithner et al., the ACLU’s challenge to the government’s authority to freeze a charity and designate it as a terrorist without due process.

WHO: Hina Shamsi and Ohio-based attorney Fritz Byers will argue for the plaintiffs before Chief Judge James Carr. In addition to Shamsi and Byers, attorneys on the case are Ben Wizner and legal fellow Alexander Abdo of the ACLU, David Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center, Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat of Bernabei & Wachtel, PLLC in Washington, D.C. and Carrie Davis of the ACLU of Ohio.

WHERE: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division  1716 Spielbusch Ave.; Toledo, OH 43604

WHEN: Friday, May 1, 2009, 8:30 a.m.