Are we really posting about this a few weeks after Boston? via Judge reverses decision to free Chicago terror suspect
CHICAGO – A federal judge Friday quashed another judge’s surprise order to release an Illinois teenager pending trial on charges he sought to join Al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.
Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, of Aurora, posed a potential threat not just to Illinois and the U.S. but to “the entire world community,” said U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang.
Standing in court in orange jail garb and his legs shackled, Tounisi showed no emotion at the ruling, which snuffed out his chance at freedom as he awaits trial. But his mother, Seham Tounisi, was distraught, crying as she left the Chicago courtroom and leaning against her husband, Ahmad Tounisi. A woman with them said, “This is unfair!”
On Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin ruled Tounisi could be released on home confinement. He stayed his own order to give the government 24 hours to appeal.
The American-born Tounisi was snared in an Internet sting after contacting a sham website set up by the FBI purporting to connect would-be fighters with terrorists, according to court filings. He was arrested at O’Hare International Airport last month as he allegedly prepared for the first leg of a trip to Syria to join Jabhat al-Nusrah.
Judge Chang cited emails in which Tounisi allegedly stated his intention to join the Al Qaeda-affiliated group fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. That suggests “the defendant was knowingly attempting to join this group — a very dangerous group,” Chang said.
To drive home Tounisi’s apparent determination and resourcefulness, prosecutor William Ridgway said the cash-strapped teen even managed to divert financial aid to attend the College of DuPage in suburban Chicago to pay for his plane ticket.
Even after worried family members had told Tounisi he “will be killing (his) mother” by persisting in plans to travel abroad, he pushed ahead, the judge said.
The judge also cited Tounisi’s friend, Adel Daoud, who was arrested last year for allegedly trying to detonate a device he thought was a bomb outside a Chicago bar. Daoud has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Tounisi helped brainstorm potential targets with Daoud, though Tounisi was never charged in that case.
Chang said an FBI interview with Tounisi about Daoud last year should have so frightened Tounisi as to make other alleged plots unthinkable to him.
“That should have been a life-altering event,” he said. “But it did not dissuade him.”
via Judge OKs home confinement for accused terrorist – News – Pekin Daily Times – Pekin, IL.
CHICAGO, Ill. — In a rare move for terror cases, a federal judge agreed Thursday to release on home confinement an Illinois teenager charged with seeking to travel abroad and join an al-Qaida-linked militant group in war-torn Syria.
Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, of Aurora, was arrested at O’Hare International Airport last month as he allegedly prepared for the first leg of a trip to join Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusrah, which is fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
In arguing for continued detention, prosecutors also noted Thursday that Tounisi had allegedly spoken with a friend of his last year about bombing targets in Chicago. Tounisi is not charged in that case, though the friend, Adel Daoud, was and is in jail awaiting trial.
After announcing his surprise ruling, the otherwise soft-spoken U.S. magistrate judge leaned forward on his bench Thursday and raised his voice, telling the teenager he should take the allegations seriously.
“This is no game, Mr. Tounisi. OK?” Judge Daniel Martin told him.
Approving the release of anyone accused on terrorism charges is uncommon, said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor and now private attorney in Chicago.
“It’s incredibly extraordinary,” he said. “It’s usually a different realm with terrorist suspects. They’re not viewed as standard criminals but as enemies of the U.S.”
Update: Obstruction in a case that killed Americans, you’re free to go, Boston Marathon bomb suspect’s friend to be released on bail:
Under a joint motion by federal prosecutors and Phillipos’ attorney, U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler ordered Phillipos, 19, released from jail, where he’s been held since his May 1 arrest. He’ll be confined to his mother’s home and be required to wear an electronic monitoring device 24/7 while he awaits trial. He’ll also have to post a $100,000 bond.
Phillipos is accused of repeatedly denying he knew about the removal of a backpack from the room that night. According to an affidavit, he admitted the fourth time he was questioned that he had not been telling the truth.If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
If Bowler sounds familiar, she ended the interrogation of the second Muslim bomber. Who Exactly is Judge Marianne Bowler ? Who Directed Her, and Why?
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