Terrorism suspects to remain in jail

August 5, 2009 

  • Audio evidence
    These recordings, which were played in court as evidence, were recorded by an unidentified informant who wore a recording device for FBI agents.


— Six terror suspects were denied bail Tuesday when a U.S. magistrate judge declared them a flight risk.

In his ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Webb said the men had connections overseas and are facing a life sentence, mandating their confinement until trial.

Webb also said the alleged conspiracy implied the public could be in danger.

"The evidence is that weapons were stockpiled, 27,000 rounds of ammunition including tracer rounds," Webb said. "While there has been a lot of evidence and argument about jihad and violent jihad, this case is about a conspiracy of terrorism."

A seventh suspect, Anes Subasic, 33, had his hearing continued this morning, after his attorney Bridgett Aguirre withdrew and the interpreter assigned to the case was removed because of a conflict of interest. The interpreter, who was translating the English language into Serbian, had previously known Subasic.

Those charged are Daniel Boyd, 39; his sons Zakariya Boyd, 20, and Dylan Boyd, 22; Omar Hassan, 22; Hysen Sherifi, 24; Subasic, and Ziyad Yaghi, 21.

After the decision, the men's families expressed disappointment.

Daniel Boyd's wife, Sabrina Boyd, stood in front of journalists, wearing a burka.

"I just want to thank the community for support," she said. "We all love our families...and we're just trying to be patient at this time."

Hassan's family looked disappointed, and some dabbed their eyes with tissues.

"Not only is Omar not a flight risk, but he is not a danger to the community," said Karl Knudsen, attorney for the Hassan family. "What he has done here is to be a college student."

Hassan had attended N.C. State University and was set to enroll this fall until his recent arrest.

Earlier this morning Webb had blasted a federal prosecutor Wednesday in Raleigh's ongoing terrorism case, demanding to know why any credence should be given to an unnamed informant.

At stake was whether seven men accused of plotting to kill and die for Islam should be released before their trial.

Defense attorneys for the seven spent the morning arguing that their clients had dubious links to Daniel Boyd, the accused ringleader.

Most of the prosecution's secret recordings focused on Daniel Boyd and his desire to kill abroad to fulfill extremist Muslim views.

When Jason Kellhoser, a federal prosecutor based in the U.S. Department of Justice's counter terrorism section in Washington D.C., argued that Boyd and the others were extremely dangerous and should not be released, Webb criticized the government for failing to put on enough evidence about the unnamed informant, the extent of his knowledge and his credibility.

The only evidence Webb heard was that he was a black man interested in training some of the men in weapons tactics in Sanford, N.C. Webb was troubled that certain words were taken as code. Sherifi had referred to "going to the beach" on a trip to Kosovo, and an informant told FBI agents that meant assembling a plot to wage violent jihad.

"Why should I credit unnamed, unidentified, uncharacterized individual as being credible?" Webb asked.

The magistrate's skepticism was welcome news to the defendants' supporters, who were doubtful the whole case could be built on the words of a government informant.

Much of the evidence is second-hand, said Hisham Sarsour, a friend of all seven. He said he keeps waiting for direct statements from Boyd and the others, rather than accounts of what the informant said they said. More than that, Sarsour and supporters were looking for signs beyond words that Boyd meant to carry out any illegal plans.

"Anybody who knows Mr. Boyd knows he likes to talk," said Sarsour. "Talk and talk and talk. There is no evidence he has done something illegal."

An eighth man, Jude Kenan Mohammad, 20, is wanted but is thought by FBI agents to be at large in Pakistan, where he headed in October 2008 after leaving his Wake County home.

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