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Two Palestinians charged in 2010 killing of American in Israel
A criminal complaint was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Ayad Fatafta and Kifah Ghanimat, both approximately 39 years of age and from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, in connection with the Dec. 18, 2010, murder of Kristine Luken, a U.S. citizen, in Israel.
Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security Mary B. McCord, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips for the District of Columbia, and Assistant Director in Charge Andrew Vale of the FBI’s Washington Field Office made the announcement.
The complaint charges Fatafta and Ghanimat with murder of a U.S. National Outside the U.S., in violation of Title 18 United States Code sections 2332(a)(1) and 2. Arrest warrants were also issued today for both defendants.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint and arrest warrants, Fatafta and Ghanimat stabbed to death Ms. Luken, a 44-year old U.S. national who was hiking near an archaeological site while visiting Israel. She died at the scene. Another individual who was with Ms. Luken, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Israel, was seriously wounded in the attack but survived.
The affidavit states that in 2012, Fatafta and Ghanimat each were convicted in an Israeli court of murder and other offenses in connection with the abduction and stabbing of both women. Fatafta was sentenced to one life term of incarceration plus 20 years, while Ghanimat was sentenced to two life terms of incarceration plus 60 years, for this and another crime.
The charges in criminal complaints are merely allegations, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for a person convicted of murdering a U.S. national outside the U.S. is a lifetime term of incarceration or death. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. If convicted of any offense, a defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The investigation into this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The Office of International Affairs of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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