Activists in Chicago are protesting what they say is a Treasury decision to freeze the assets of a Palestinian activist under investigation for terror support. But a Treasury spokeswoman says they didn't do it.
Supporters of Hatem Abudayyeh say he learned Friday that his family's bank accounts were frozen. Initial statements urged people to call Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office is investigating Abudayyeh and up to two dozen other people for possible support to at least two designated terrorist groups. A spokesman for Fitzgerald's office said Monday that "there is no court record of such action" and that the U.S. Attorney was not involved.
The supporters' websites then indicated that Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) was responsible for "the latest escalation of the repression of anti-war and Palestinian community organizers by the US government."
Supporters "are appalled at the government's attempt to restrict the family's access to its finances, especially so soon before Mothers' Day," a statement said. People were urged to call Treasury to protest the move.
But a Treasury spokeswoman said she found no record of action against Abudayyeh or his wife. OFAC issues news releases for virtually all actions taken, but nothing has been issued in this case.
Last September, FBI agents raided two dozen locations in Chicago and Minneapolis as part of an investigation involving the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The targets, including Abudayyeh, insist they are peace activists who are being unjustly harassed by the government. Abudayyeh works as executive director of the Arab American Action Network.