US embassy cable - 04DAMASCUS5065

HAMAS LEADER REJECTS US INDICTMENT

Identifier: 04DAMASCUS5065
Wikileaks: View 04DAMASCUS5065 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Damascus
Created: 2004-08-25 15:05:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PREL PTER SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 251505Z AUG 04
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7053
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV IMMEDIATE 
DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L DAMASCUS 005065 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/25/2014 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, SY 
SUBJECT: HAMAS LEADER REJECTS US INDICTMENT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey for reasons 1.4b/d. 
 
1. (C) In an August 21 interview with the Associated Press, 
Moussa Abu Marzouk, Deputy Chairman of Hamas' politbureau, 
responded to the announcement of his indictment by US 
Attorney General John Ashcroft for conspiring to fund terror 
attacks against Israel by saying that he would turn himself 
in to US authorities if he were assured access to "fair and 
evenhanded justice."  He went on to add that this seemed 
unlikely to him since "American justice is absent now."  He 
also denied that Hamas is a terrorist group and dismissed the 
possibility of Syria extraditing him since, "No one in the 
region, including Syria, considers Hamas or the Palestinian 
struggle (against Israel) as terrorist."  The Damascus AP 
correspondent Albert Aji (protect) told poloff that he 
interviewed Marzouk in person in Damascus and that Marzouk 
had told him "there is no justice for Arabs in the US after 
9/11".  Marzouk also told the AP correspondent that this is 
an "old story" from 1989 and the Justice Department reopened 
the case as a public relations move to bolster the Bush 
administration's reelection campaign.  (Note: Marzouk, who 
lived for 15 years in US and completed a PHD in industrial 
engineering, was expelled to Jordan 1995.  He currently lives 
between Syria and Lebanon.  End Note.) 
 
2. (U) The advisor to the Syrian Information Minister Haj Ali 
told the Saudi media outlet Al Riyad that Syria would not 
hand over Marzouk.  "Syria does not accept dictates or 
condition and does not accept others issuing prior conditions 
and saying you have to do this and that."  He added that 
Syria has enough strength to "refuse any subjugation to the 
will and conditions of others."  Haj Ali said he believes the 
US will escalate the situation but that escalation will not 
lead to any results and added that the US should adopt 
dialogue with Syria.  He also said that the US issuance of 
the arrest warrant at this time and through representative 
institutions, i.e. through the Attorney General, was 
deliberate and aimed at exerting pressure on Syria on the 
basis that Abu Marzouk resides there.  The advisor to the 
Information Minister also said that the resistance in 
Palestine and Iraq was legitimate.  He denied that 
Palestinian groups in Damascus were participating in the 
resistance against Israel and asserted that Palestinian 
groups in Damascus had normal offices that had no ties to the 
Palestinian domestic arena and did not have the means to 
carry our operations as the US claimed. 
 
 
SCOBEY 

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