Bond set for Triangle woman accused in beheading plot

ablythe@newsobserver.comMarch 8, 2012 

BEHEADED.030812.TI

Charles Swift and Linda Moreno, attorneys for Nevine Aly Elsheikh, a woman accused of being part of a plot to have three people beheaded, talk to reporters outside of a federal court in Raleigh Thursday, March 8, 2012. A federal court judge set her bond at $1 million. She is accused of working with a Triangle man convicted of conspiring to commit terror to arrange murder of three witnesses in his case.

TAKAAKI IWABU — tiwabu@newsobserver.com

— A federal judge set bond today for a woman accused of working with a Triangle man convicted of conspiring to commit terror to arrange murder of three witnesses in his case.

Nevine Aly Elshiekh, a special education teacher and daughter of a former N.C. State University professor, accused of being part of a bizarre plot to have three people beheaded can be under house arrest at her parents' home as she awaits trial if she posts $1 million bond.

The judge set bond in a hearing this morning challenging an earlier decision by a magistrate judge.

W. Earl Britt, the federal judge presiding over the proceeding in the 7th floor courtroom of the federal courthouse in downtown Raleigh, told El Shiekh he changed the previous judge's ruling out of respect for her parents.

"You must know that if you violate any of the conditions," Britt told her, "you place their future in extreme difficulty."

El Shiekh is accused of transporting notes, photos and money from Hysen Sherifi, a Triangle man convicted of being part of a Triangle terror cell that conspired to wage jihad abroad and at home, to confidential informants and his brother.

Britt told her that working out the logistics of her pre-trial release could take several days and it might be early next week before she begins house arrest.

He also set other conditions of her release.

She may not use a computer or phone, except to talk with her attorneys on her parents' house phone.

She may not have any contact with any of the co-defendants in the case or with any of the people involved in the case against seven accused of being part of a Triangle terror cell that conspired to wage war overseas and at home.

In the hearing today, the judge also ordered the cancellation of her passport, a document that neither her family nor the FBI can find.

At a detention hearing earlier this year, federal agents asked for no bond to be set, saying they could not ask for the confiscation of her passport because no one could find it.

The case stems from contentions by a federal agent that Hysen Sherifi, a native of Kosovo sentenced early this year to 45 years in prison, worked with his brother and a woman on a plot to have the witnesses beheaded and pictures taken of the corpses to prove the deaths.

The agent contends that $5,000 was exchanged with a confidential informant on two different days for one of the hits.

Shkumbin Sherifi, brother of the convicted man, has also been charged in the case.

The charges have sent a second wave of shock through the Triangle Muslim community, which showed up to support the family at the hearing today.

Some were unable to hear the beginning of the hearing because an order was issued setting hearing parameters that required all participants and spectators to be in the courtroom 15 minutes before the 10 a.m. hearing.

The courtroom doors were then locked and no one could enter until a break.

"We're gratified that she's back with her parents where she should have been to begin with," said Charles Swift, one of her defense attorneys. "It's the first step in a long process."

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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