Somali charged with supporting Al Qaeda
Updated: 2011-07-06 09:44
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON - A Somali man was brought to a US criminal court on Tuesday to face charges of assisting al Qaeda and a militant Somali group, although his questioning abroad for over two-months without being advised of his rights might raise problems at trial.
The man, identified as Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, appeared in a New York court on Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Somali group Al Shabaab, US prosecutors in Manhattan said.
But when Warsame was arrested in April by the US military in the Gulf, he was questioned about anti-terrorism "for intelligence purposes for more than two months" before being read his Miranda rights, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Miranda rights entitle suspects to a lawyer and the right to remain silent.
He was questioned by interrogators from the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group and the US military, according to an administration official.
President Barack Obama's administration has come under fire by Republicans and even some fellow Democrats over his decision to prosecute some terrorism suspects in criminal courts and not in military courts, where rules for evidence are looser.
In Washington, another senior administration official said Obama's national security team had unanimously recommended the prosecution of Warsame in a criminal court.
A defense attorney for Warsame, Priya Chaudhry, did not respond to a request for comment.
After his interrogation, a fresh FBI team came in and was permitted to talk with him, at which time he waived his legal rights and continued to talk for several days, said the first official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to talk on the record about matters of terrorism.
Warsame arrived in New York City late on July 4 after being formally arrested the previous day, according to a letter from prosecutors to the US court.
Warsame, said to be in his mid-20s, was indicted on nine charges, including providing material support from at least 2007 to April 2011 to Somali militants al Shabaab and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), two groups designated by Washington as terrorist organizations.
According to the charges, Warsame also worked to broker a weapons deal with AQAP on behalf of al Shabaab.
A joint statement by the Manhattan US Attorney, the FBI and the New York Police Department said he was also charged with "conspiring to teach and demonstrate the making of explosives, possessing firearms and explosives in furtherance of crimes of violence and other violations."
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