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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

N.C. terrorism suspects to appear in court Thursday; prosecutors to use FISA

Posted by on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 6:34 PM

All but one of the seven North Carolina-based men charged with a conspiracy to "advance violent jihad"--or, holy war--that would include murder and kidnapping, are set to appear in a federal courthouse in Raleigh on Thursday. Anes Subasic, who is charged with two counts of conspiracy, will appear on Friday make his first appearance Wednesday because he has requested a Yugoslavian interpreter, according to the case docket.

Six of the seven men are U.S. citizens; Hysen Sherifi, a Kosovo native, is a legal permanent resident of the U.S., according to the indictment (PDF, 316 KB).

The seven defendants have all been ordered federal public defenders, though only three attorneys have been assigned thus far. Daniel Patrick Boyd, who faces all seven counts in the indictment--including unlawful possession and sale of firearms, making false statements, and conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons in a foreign country--has been appointed two federal public defenders. Sherifi, who faces three counts, will be represented by a private attorney from New Bern, N.C. None of the defense attorneys were immediately available for comment. Attorneys for Boyd and Sherifi have filed discovery motions, requesting all evidence the government has gathered on their respective clients, including any recorded material.

The indictment alleges at least two "coded conversations" between Boyd and Subasic in which they indirectly refer to their desire to commit, and help others commit, "violent jihad" abroad, though offers no direct quotations other than "We can do something," "I'm gonna go, we can go together," and "I can find a few brothers."

After Boyd taught him how to use an AK-47 in his living room, Sherifi flew to his native Kosovo to "engage in violent jihad," the indictment alleges. Afterward, Sherifi allegedly had a conversation with an unnamed source revealing that "Allah has opened a way for me."

"The recipient of the statement believed this to be a reference to engaging in violent jihad," the indictment states, without revealing the source, the nature of the statement, or where it took place.

The indictment also refers to an e-mail message Boyd allegedly sent to Sherifi containing an attachment with "literature extolling the virtues of dying shahid," or, a martyr.

These charges form part of a larger conspiracy, including weapons purchases, "military tactics" training in Caswell County, N.C., fundraising, and various trips abroad to countries including Kosovo, Jordan, Pakistan and Israel, the indictment alleges.

In Israel, the indictment alleges, one group of defendants attempted to rendez vous with another to commit violent jihad, but ultimately failed and returned to the United States. The indictment does not explicitly refer to any overt criminal acts abroad, other than to accuse the defendants of participating in various conspiracies to commit those acts.

Robin Zier, public information officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern Division of North Carolina, and Amy Thoreson, media representative for the Charlotte office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, declined to elaborate further on any information in the indictment, citing both security concerns and confidentiality agreements.

"The indictment is the only really public information that’s out there," Zier told the Indy. "If it’s not in the indictment, it’s not public."

Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's office has filed notice (PDF, 20 KB) that it intends to use "information obtained and derived from electronic surveillance and physical search conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," also known as FISA.

The name of an eighth defendant, who is alleged to have traveled to Pakistan as part of the conspiracy, was redacted from the indictment, which Zier confirmed was because "It’s still under seal and we’re trying to catch him.”

More updates to follow.

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