Federal prosecutors in New York unveiled new criminal charges on Wednesday against a U.S. citizen believed to have once been an al Qaeda operative, accusing him of involvement in a 2009 car bomb attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.
According to a nine-count indictment, Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 30, helped prepare one of two explosive devices for use in the Jan. 19, 2009 attack.
Prosecutors said an accomplice detonated one device, while Al Farekh’s fingerprints were found on packing tape for the second device, which a second accomplice carried and did not detonate. The military base was not identified.
Sean Maher, a court-appointed lawyer for Al Farekh, did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The Texas-born Al Farekh was charged with providing material support to al Qaeda, providing material support to terrorists and using explosives. He also faces six conspiracy counts including to murder Americans, use a weapon of mass destruction, bomb a government facility and aid al Qaeda.
Al Farekh faces up to life in prison if convicted. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York.
Also known as Abdullah al-Shami, Al Farekh had been detained in Pakistan prior to being flown to Brooklyn, where he first appeared last April 2.
He pleaded not guilty on June 4 to three criminal counts in an indictment made public a week earlier.
Prosecutors accused Al Farekh of providing material support to al Qaeda from Dec. 2006 to Sept. 2009, in a plot that involved two fellow students from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
The case is U.S. v. Al Farekh, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, No. 15-cr-00268.
Two other individuals went with Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh to train with Al Qaeda in Pakistan in 2007. All three were former leaders of the Muslim Students Association at the University of Manitoba. Al Farekh and Maiwand Yar are identified as such on the MSA Manitoba 2005-2006 Executive Body webpage. In 2010, the third individual, Ferid Imam, was identified as a former MSA Manitoba president by another former president of the association, Shariq Kidwai, in the Winnipeg Free Press / WebArchive – Archive.Today.