WASHINGTON – The Bush administration removed three people and three organizations from a U.S. list of entities whose financial assets it sought to freeze after they were cleared of suspected links to the Al Qaeda terror network.
The Treasury Department's action, announced Tuesday, comes amid recent criticism about the processes the United States has used in its effort to block funds, including the evidence gathered to support classifying a person or a group as a terrorist financier.
Somali-born Swedes Abdi Abdulaziz Ali and Abdirisak Aden, who were involved with the Swedish chapter of the Somali-based money transfer operation Al-Barakaat, were taken off the U.S. list.
Many in Sweden had rallied around the men, saying they were being denied due process by the United States.
The United States moved to block the assets of Al-Barakaat last year, accusing the operation of funneling money to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network.
The Somali Swedes came forward claiming that they had no knowledge that the entities they were associated with were linked to terror. Another Somali-born Swede, Yusaf Ahmed Ali, has done the same and has asked to be taken off the U.S. list. That request is being reviewed by the United States.
The third man removed from the U.S. list is Garad Jama of Minneapolis. He owns the Aaran Money Wire Service Inc. of Minneapolis, which was removed from the U.S. list.
Also removed from the U.S. list: Barakaat Enterprise of Columbus, Ohio, and Global Service International of Minneapolis.
All six entities were removed after taking "remedial action to disassociate themselves from the terrorist Al-Barakaat network," said Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols. "They appear, after extensive review, to have been unwitting participants in the network, and their disassociation furthers our goal of dismantling the network."
Nichols said he trying to find out whether the six people and organizations had financial assets in the United States that were blocked as a result of their names being put on the U.S. blacklist.
The action by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control follows a request by the United States last week to remove the same three people and three organizations from a U.N. sanctions list.