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Thursday, July 25, 2024 | Back issues
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TX-Based Terror Suspect Hauled Into NY Court

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A federal judge warned Thursday against drawing out the trial of a Texas man accused of orchestrating a pair of car-bombs at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

One day after prosecutors filed a superseding indictment against him, Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 30, sat unshackled in blue prison scrubs before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan for the short hearing on Thursday.

No Americans were killed in the attack, but prosecutors asked the judge for more time Thursday to study fatalities among Afghani security guards.

Despite objections from Farekh's attorneys, Cogan allowed it, but with caution. "I don't want the process" to go on for "four or five years," the judge warned.

The superseding indictment filed Wednesday accuses Farekh, who appeared in court with a shaved head and a beard, of making car bombs for the attack at the military base in January 2009.

Prosecutors say Texas-based Farekh designed the plan, which involved two other men driving separate trucks full of explosives to the base. Only one of them blew up.

Investigators found Farekh's fingerprints on the packing tape on the truck that did not blow up.

Farekh, who is accused of working with al-Qaida between 2006 and 2009, was captured last year in Pakistan and extradited to Brooklyn.

The original indictment against him was unsealed in May.

U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said Farekh "turned his back on our country and tried to kill U.S. soldiers in the course of executing their sworn duty to keep us safe."

The FBI's Diego Rodriguez said "the indictment demonstrates justice has no bounds and the United States government will seek to investigate and prosecute crimes against Americans, no matter where they take place."

According to the original indictment, Farekh and two others left their studies at the University of Manitoba to fight U.S. soldiers in Pakistan. Farekh allegedly made a call upon their arrival to tell a friend not to ever expect hearing from them again because they planned to become martyrs.

Prosecutors say one of Farekh's co-conspirators, Ferid Imam, provided weapons and training to soldiers at an al-Qaida training camp in 2008.

Three of Imam's trainees planned to pull off suicide attacks on the New York City subway system, but were thwarted.

Two have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A third got life in prison after trial. Imam was indicted for his role in the plot.

If convicted, Farekh faces up to life in prison. He is due back in court on Feb. 18.

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