Somali: Virginia Prosecutor accused Somali-origin of support of terrorists

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Franklin County Common Pleas Magistrate Elizabeth Watters set bond at $1 million Feb. 25 for a West Side man accused of having ties to terrorists.

Abdirahman S. Mohamud, who lives on Dulane Court, is a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Somalia. He was arrested Feb. 21 and indicted Feb. 23 on one count each of soliciting or providing support for acts of terror, a third-degree felony, and money-laundering in support of terrorism, a fifth-degree felony. The arrest followed an FBI investigation that lasted for more than a year.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien asked for a $2.5-million bond, saying Mohamud was a flight risk and a threat to public safety.

Mohamud’s attorney, Sam Shamansky, argued that O’Brien’s request was excessive for a defendant facing what Shamansky called two “low-level felonies,” the most serious of which is punishable by no more than three years in prison.

Shamansky said his client has lived in central Ohio since about 1999 and has strong family ties in the area.

“He is entitled to a reasonable bond,” said Shamansky, who entered not-guilty pleas for Mohamud.

Even with the lower bond, Shamansky said his client can’t afford to pay a bail-bond agent the premium needed to be released from jail.

If he is released, Watters said, Mohamud must be under house arrest, surrender his passport, not use the Internet or transfer money out of the country.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Feb. 24, O’Brien wrote that Mohamud “provided material support and resources or electronic devices to persons engaged in terrorism in the Middle East and has traveled to that area of the world.”

He said Mohamud traveled to the Middle East, where he met with relatives and others linked to a “federally designated terrorist organization.” O’Brien declined to name the group but said after the hearing that it is “a subgroup of a terrorist organization that people would recognize.”

Mohamud reportedly traveled to Syria, but O’Brien would not identify countries the defendant visited.

 

O’Brien said the federal investigation is continuing and probably will result in more-serious federal charges against Mohamud.

Shamansky said he assumes that “the federal case will rear its head and this case will become secondary.”

Hassan Omar, who leads the Somali Community Association of Ohio, said Mohamud’s arrest will tarnish the Somali community’s image here.

“We don’t want to be part of the problem. We want to be part of the solution,” Omar said. “We are here. We are American.”

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