US terrorism suspect pleads not guilty to receiving al Qaeda training

[JURIST] A naturalized American citizen pleaded not guilty on Saturday in federal court in New York City to charges of conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country and of receiving military training from al Qaeda. Adis Mendunjanin was indicted [NYT report] in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] on Saturday morning, and his lawyer has accused authorities of holding and questioning his client without access to his family or his lawyer for 36 hours. Medunjanin remains in detention, and prosecutors have announced that they intend to seek a permanent order of detention at a bail hearing that has been set for next Thursday. Medunjanin was arrested [press release] on Friday morning in connection with an ongoing investigation related to Najibullah Zazi, the suspected terrorist accused last September of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. Zarein Ahmedzay was also arrested Friday in connection with the Zazi investigation. All three men allegedly traveled together [Reuters report] to Pakistan in 2008 to receive al Qaeda training, according to prosecutors.

Zazi is a native of Afghanistan who was arrested [BBC report] by FBI agents in Colorado last fall. He was originally charged with making false statements to the FBI. Zazi was charged [indictment, PDF; JURIST report] with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Zazi pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] in September. At the time, prosecutors from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] said [LAT report] that they had significant information to use against Zazi, while his lawyer countered that the prosecution cannot prove Zazi's guilt unless they identify the other conspirators.



 

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