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Christian charity appeals to have funds released after accounts were frozen

by Premier Journalist

A Christian charity based in the UK will make an urgent application to have its funds released by police so it can send money to victims of the Beirut explosion and a Covid-19 relief project in Armenia.

The Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (Acero) is chaired by the bishop of Syria, Mar Afram Athneil, but is run by Andy Darmoo and based in Dartford.  

The charity's accounts were frozen after a judge ruled in 2019 that the police should be allowed to look into allegations it funded Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, by paying ransom money for the release of 223 Christian hostages held by ISIS. 

The charity claims money was sent to help rehabilitate christian Assyrian hostages following their release. 

ACERO - which supports disaster relief across the world - will make an urgent application supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

Lawyers will argue there is no longer reason to suspect  funds were or will be used for terrorist financing, and that it is 'unconscionable to prevent them any longer from being put to humanitarian use.'

Speaking to The Sunday Times last year bishop Athneil said:

"As a bishop in the Assyrian Church, my responsibility was to look after my flock in my country during a troubled period. This had nothing to do with Acero UK or Mr Andy Darmoo."

The appeal will be made at Westminster Magistrates Court on Monday 17 August.

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