Saturday, July 13, 2002

Immigrant to turn self in

By Dan Horn,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Jordanian immigrant agreed Friday to turn himself in to authorities in Cincinnati so he can be questioned about a fraudulent visa operation linked to some of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

        Khaled Hatter, whose family runs the English Market grocery in North Fairmount, came to the United States two years ago.

        Federal authorities believe Mr. Hatter, his brother, and about 70 others got visas from a fraudulent operation in Qatar.

        The Hatters are not charged with crimes, but authorities want to question both.

        “They had no knowledge at all (of the hijackers),” said Mr. Hatter's attorney, James Hartke. “They just wanted to get into the United States to hook up with their families. They wanted a better life.”

        Last week a Jordanian in Baltimore was charged with visa fraud and accused of paying a bribe to an American consular official in Qatar. He is suspected of sharing an apartment with two Sept. 11 hijackers.

        Mr. Hartke said the Hatters are Jordanian Christians who came here to escape persecution by the Muslim majority.

        “They are Catholics,” Mr. Hartke said. “It's probably safe to say that Muslim extremists are not recruiting Catholics.”

        The Associated Press contributed to this report


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