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Terror support suspect seeks to be released

Terror support suspect seeks to be released

Attorneys for a man held in solitary confinement on terror charges for more than five years asked Tuesday that he be released while he awaits trial, saying his pretrial incarceration has gone on so long it has become punitive.
After U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim said he would take the request under advisement, Mohammed Warsame stood up in court and said: "This is unfair, sir. I've been here a long time."
Warsame, a Canadian of Somali descent, is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida and with providing such support. He also is charged with lying to the FBI. Warsame has pleaded not guilty.
Authorities have said he once dined with Osama bin Laden, fought with the Taliban and attended terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Warsame says he never knowingly attended an al-Qaida camp but instead sought a "utopian" society in Afghanistan.
He has been in custody since December 2003. He was first held as a material witness, then indicted six weeks later.
Assistant U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk said Tuesday that Warsame should remain in custody because he is a flight risk and a danger to the community _ claims Warsame's attorneys deny.
Attorney David Thomas said Warsame has been a model prisoner and has no criminal record. Thomas said his client should be released under certain conditions.
When Tunheim took the bench he greeted Warsame and asked him how he was doing.
"Fine, your honor," Warsame said.
As the brief hearing was ending, Tunheim said he was concerned about the length of Warsame's pretrial confinement, noting that Warsame's mental state must be considered.
When the judge said he'd think about the request before making a decision, Warsame became upset and stood up in protest. He took a few steps toward prosecutors and said, "They are against me!" He accused prosecutors of misconduct as security guards moved in and forced him back into his chair.
Tunheim allowed Warsame to speak but told him to sit down.
"I respect you sir," Warsame continued. "I respect your court. ... I would never do anything against you."
He said he wouldn't harm the state, noting he was a fan of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings.
Tunheim said he understood and would make his decision quickly.
"When sir? When?" Warsame pleaded.
"Hopefully very soon," the judge said.
A status conference in the case is set for May 20.
Thomas declined to comment after the hearing.
One reason for the delay in trial is an appeal pending before the 8th Circuit. In June 2007, prosecutors appealed Tunheim's decision to suppress some statements Warsame made to authorities.
According to court documents, Warsame was interviewed by FBI agents at his Minneapolis home on Dec. 8, 2003, and then taken to Camp Ripley, a training ground for the Minnesota National Guard, for more questioning.
He was told he was participating voluntarily. The next day, Warsame said he wanted to go home, but agents continued to interview him.
Tunheim ruled that Warsame was in a custodial situation then and was not read his rights, so any statements from his final interview could not be used at trial.


Updated : 2021-04-14 06:32 GMT+08:00