Two Grand in Charity could mean Fifty Years Behind Bars

10 May

Oytun Ayse Mihalik, a Turkish citizen and former pharmacist of Orange County, California, has been in federal custody since August 2011 for wiring charitable contributions to Pakistan.

A federal complaint filed against her alleges that Mihalik knew the funds would be used to coordinate attacks against U.S. military oversees and that she had allegedly lied to federal employees, according to court documents. If convicted on all three counts of providing material support to terrorists and one count of making a false statement, Mihalik could face up to 53 years in prison.

In February of 2011, Mihalik traveled to her homeland, Turkey, where she spent six months with family before returning for a brief visit to the United States on 8 August. Upon her arrival, the 39-year-old La Palma resident was thoroughly interrogated and recorded regarding her travels and finances at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Records show FBI and U.S.Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) questioned Mihalik about any money she may have sent overseas. An immigrant with extensive family and friends still residing in her native Turkey and abroad, she answered in the affirmative.

Despite the seemingly general questioning, the FBI and HSI were particularly interested in three transfers sent in December 2010 and January 2011 amounting to $2.050, inquiring as to whom the money was intended for and under what name(s) she had previously sent money.

According to an affidavit citing disjointed and often abruptly truncated portions of the transcribed interview, Mihalik did not deny that she sent money overseas and elaborated that the money was intended for friends and friends of relatives or friends of friends who were in financial need. Whether an inaccurate recollection or a nervous omission, Mihalik failed to mention the use of an alias for the transfers.

However, authorities allege that in two of the money transfers, Mihalik provided the name “Cindy Palmer” to transfer $600 and $700. In one of the wire transfers, an affidavit alleges, Mihalik had given the name “Cindy Palmer” for the transfer, yet still signed the receipt with her legal name, “Oytun Mihalik”.

On 27 August, Mihalik intended to return to Turkey permanently when federal officials detained her. When questioned regarding her one-way ticket, Mihalik explained she was moving back to Turkey and had not told her husband about it and that she called him to ‘say goodbye’ from the airport.

Although the initial charge filed against Mihalik concerned only the alleged false statement, following an investigation involving ‘classified’ material, a grand jury, and the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), prosecutors amended the original complaint and added charges of providing material support to terrorists.

Court records do not state how investigators determined the money was intended for “terrorist organizations” or which alleged organisations were to have benefited from the money, but prosecutors in court documents stated they planned to use aforementioned secret evidence, as well as electronic recordings and/or evidence retrieved under the controversial and unconstitutional FISA.

The government is in the process of reviewing a large volume of material in a foreign language to determine whether any of it is discoverable and/or will require court proceedings‘ one document read.

Five months after her arrest, Mihalik was arraigned on the supersceding charges in January and no further court dates are scheduled.

Defense attorney Alan Eisner said no new evidence has been offered up by prosecutors since his client’s arrest months ago, and the money sent overseas was donated to charity. ‘The evidence will show she’s not funding a terrorist organization,’ Mr Eisner said.

Oytun Ayse Mihalik #61427-112
MDC Los Angeles
Metropolitan Detention Center
PO Box 1500
Los Angeles, CA 90053

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in News Items


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6 responses to “Two Grand in Charity could mean Fifty Years Behind Bars

  1. Musaafira

    June 10, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Salaamu alaykum,

    Can I write to the sister in English?

    Also does the sister require financial assistance with her case or even for food etc?

    • aseerun

      June 11, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Wa Alaikem As-Salaam Wa Rhamatalihi Wa Barakatahu,

      Insha’Allah we will try to find out and keep you posted. JazakAllahu Khairan for your concern, and May Allah increase you in good, Amin.

  2. Umm Sayfillah Al-Ansariya

    October 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    As-Salamu-Alaikum wr wb,

    can i write to the sister in turkish?

    • aseerun

      October 30, 2012 at 12:21 am

      Wa alaikum Assalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

      Insha’Allah please do write to our dear sister. It would be preferred if letters are written to her initially in English just so that we can establish that she is allowed to receive letters as some prisoners are not allowed to receive letters from non-family members and it would be beneficial to know this information. After you find out or receive a response from her, then you can try to send a letter in Turkish- it will certainly take longer to deliver as it would need to be translated by the authorities, but hopefully it will not be a problem, Wa Allahu ‘Alam.

      JazakAllahu Khairan
      Wa alikum Assalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu

  3. Abu Jandal

    October 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    As Salam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh

    Inshallah geht es euch gut und befindet euch bei bester Iman.

    Ich wollte fragen ob es inshallah was neues über die Schwester gibt und ob man irgendwie helfen kann. Dürfen wir den Text ins Deutsche übersetzen und verbreiten?

    • aseerun

      October 30, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Wa alaikum Assalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

      The sister’s condition is the same from what we know Wa Allahu ‘Alim. Her case is in the pre-trial phase and there have been some hearings concerning the release of secret evidence requested by her lawyer, however it is difficult to track what progress has been made because of the secrecy.

      Please continue to make sincere and frequent dua’ for her, and this is the best thing we can do for her. JazakAllah and Insha’Allah it will help if you translate and spread (with any other article on the site as well) so that more people become aware about her situation. Also have brothers and sisters send letters and cards to keep her Imaan high in this difficult time. Thirdly, if they can, brothers and sister should mail her money by following the instructions here:

      May Allah keep her strong and reward you all, Amin.
      Wa alikum Assalaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barkatuhu


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