Court throws out most contempt counts in Minn. terror case

Hawo Mohamed Hassan and Amina Farah Ali
In this Aug. 5, 2010 file photo, Hawo Mohamed Hassan, left, and Amina Farah Ali, both of Rochester, Minn., leave the U.S. District Court after appearing at a hearing in St Paul, Minn. A jury convicted the two women of funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia.
AP Photo/Craig Lassig, File

A federal appeals court has thrown out 19 of the 20 contempt-of-court citations against a Rochester woman convicted of funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia.

The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday affirmed the first contempt charge against Amina Farah Ali, a Muslim, who refused to stand for the judge and jury early on in her trial last October, saying it is prohibited by her religion.

The three-judge panel vacated all other contempt counts against Ali and sent the case back to Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis.

The appeals court says the judge ruled only on First Amendment grounds, and failed to consider a separate federal law protecting religious freedom.

Ali and a co-defendant, who say they only sent money for the poor, await sentencing on terrorism-related charges.

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