Court can use Georgia Tech student’s jihad statement, Ruling in Syed Haris Ahmed case is victory for prosecutors; By BILL RANKIN The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Atlanta terrorism defendant Syed Haris Ahmed’s statements that he considered planning a terrorist attack and dying a martyr waging jihad can be used against him at trial, a judge has ruled.
Handing federal prosecutors a major victory, U.S. Magistrate Gerrilyn Brill rejected arguments that the former Georgia Tech student was coerced by agents into making the statements.
Ahmed and co-defendant, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, of Roswell, are charged with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Both have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bond. Their trial dates have yet to be set.
During a trip to (Toronto) Canada the same year, Ahmed told agents, he met with “brothers” and discussed attacking oil refineries, a military base or the satellite system that controls the global positioning system.
The members of the Toledo Terror cell were Khaleel Ahmed his cousin Zubair Ahmed both of Chicago and the 3 men from Toledo, Mohammad Amawi, 28, Marwan El-Hindi, 45, and Wassim Mazloum, 27 , who now face maximum sentences of life in prison. Also linked to the cell are the two men from Atlanta, Syed Harris Ahmed and Ehsaanul Sadequee who had planned to truck bomb the CDC in Atlanta and who directly link to the Toronto cell were 14 men are currently on trial for a terror bomb plot.
About 11 hours of tape recordings of the interviews were played during hearings early this year. They portray Ahmed as an impressionable, soft-spoken student transfixed by Internet sites and chat rooms that were popular with extremists and promoted the annihilation of the enemies of Islam.
In one sobering exchange, Ahmed told agents he had thought about committing a terrorist act here (ATLANTA CDC). “My intentions were to do something in America,” he said. “Yes, attack.”
SEE; TERRORISTS SYED AHMED AND EHSANUL SADEQUEE PLANNED TRUCK BOMBING AT CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) ATL "PURE AIRBORNE, MAN" SMALLPOX & 1 MILL DEAD
His appointed attorney, Jack Martin, has noted that Ahmed never committed a violent act or developed a specific plan to carry one out. Martin contended Ahmed was coerced into making the statements by agents who used psychological tactics, such a threats of arrests and promises of leniency. The agents also preyed on Ahmed’s deeply held Muslim faith, Martin said, calling the statements involuntary.
In a 64-page ruling issued Monday, Brill disagreed. “Although [Ahmed] was deeply religious, he was also 21 years old, intelligent and had been interviewed by law enforcement twice before,” Brill wrote. “There is nothing … to suggest that [Ahmed’s] will was critically affected by the agents’ various appeals to his Muslim beliefs and there is nothing inherently coercive about such tactics.”
Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, moved to the United States with his parents when he was 12. At the time of his arrest, Ahmed was a Georgia Tech engineering student working part-time at a perfume shop.
Authorities had come to suspect Ahmed and Sadequee were behind the videos of various Washington-area buildings found on the computer of Younis Tsouli.
Tsouli, who called himself Irhabi (Arabic for “terrorist”) 007, is imprisoned for terrorism-related crimes in England. Agents later confirmed that Ahmed and Sadequee made those videos during a trip to the nation’s capital in April 2005.
But in March 2006, with intelligence drying up, authorities confronted Ahmed to see if it was true and to gain his cooperation.
Although Ahmed called the amateurish videos “stupid,” he admitted they could be used for “some kind of terrorist act.” “We could be spies for the people over there,” Ahmed told the agents, referring to extremists overseas. “It’s like, uh, thrilling to be undercover and stuff like that.”
Bill Warner Private Investigator