Friday, September 09, 2005

Well, we've come to that

American Muslim honor student indicted in plot to kill Bush
Where did he learn that this might be a good idea? Has anyone investigated what he was taught in the Saudi academy he attended and from which he graduated with honors? If not, why not? Ahmed Omar Abu Ali Update. "N.Va. Man Indicted in Plot Against Bush: Torture Allegation Hangs Over Case," from the Washington Post, with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:
An American student was charged yesterday in an al Qaeda plot to kill President Bush, with prosecutors alleging that Ahmed Omar Abu Ali and his confederates planned to use multiple snipers to shoot Bush or to blow him up in a suicide bombing.
The expanded indictment of Abu Ali, returned by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, also claimed for the first time that he proposed a plan to bring members of an al Qaeda cell into the United States through Mexico. They would then link up with Abu Ali to conduct terrorist operations in this country, the indictment said.Abu Ali, 24, of Falls Church was first charged in February with terrorism counts that included trying to establish an al Qaeda cell in the United States. That indictment referred to the plot to kill Bush, but Abu Ali was not charged with conspiring to assassinate the president until yesterday. The case is among the highest-profile terrorism prosecutions in the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The new nine-count indictment also adds charges of conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy and destroy aircraft, part of the Justice Department's allegations that Abu Ali was plotting with al Qaeda to conduct a Sept. 11-style attack in the United States that would include hijacking planes.
If convicted on the assassination count alone, Abu Ali faces up to life in prison. Earlier, his maximum penalty on all counts had been 80 years in prison.
An attorney for Abu Ali, who has pleaded not guilty, did not return telephone calls late yesterday, and a White House spokesman referred calls to the Justice Department. Prosecutors would not comment beyond the indictment.
Abu Ali was arrested by security officials in June 2003 while studying at a university in Saudi Arabia. His family mounted a highly public campaign in the United States for his release. He was held until he was flown back to the United States in February to face charges.
Defense attorneys and Abu Ali's family have contended that any statements he made in Saudi custody were obtained through torture. Two doctors who examined Abu Ali found evidence that he was tortured in Saudi Arabia, including scars on his back consistent with having been whipped, defense lawyers have said in court papers.
Prosecutors have denied that Abu Ali was tortured. But if a federal judge concludes that he was, much of the evidence against him could be thrown out because it was obtained under duress. The torture allegations are expected to play a key role in a hearing scheduled to start Sept. 19.

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