Two Chicago Residents Charged with Terrorism Violations

TOLEDO, Ohio, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gregory A. White, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, today announced that a federal grand jury in Cleveland returned a new indictment charging two of the defendants in the pending Toledo terrorism case, Zubair Ahmed and his cousin, Khaleel Ahmed, both of Chicago , Illinois, with a single count of conspiring to commit terrorist acts against Americans overseas. Zubair Ahmed, age 28, and his cousin, Khaleel Ahmed, age 27, are both U.S. citizens, and reside in the Chicago , Illinois, area.

The new indictment charges Zubair Ahmed and Khaleel Ahmed with conspiring, together and with others, to "kill, kidnap or maim persons outside of the United States , to include U.S. armed forces personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan ," in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 956(a)(1).

The new indictment alleges a conspiracy from "at least as early as April 2004 through in or about February 2007." Some, but not all, of the defendants' activity alleged in the new indictment is also alleged in the conspiracy charged in Count One of the pending Toledo indictment in the case of United States v. Mohammad Zaki Amawi, et al. That case is currently set for trial in March 2008 .

If convicted, each defendant's sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.

The maximum statutory penalties upon conviction for the charged offense are as follows:

18 U.S.C. Section 956(a)(1): 35 years imprisonment (if conspiracy to maim) or life imprisonment (if conspiracy to kill);

In addition, a $250,000 fine could be imposed, as well as a period of supervised release of up to 5 years following imprisonment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas E. Getz and Justin E. Herdman of the National Security Unit of the United States Attorney's Office in Cleveland , and AUSA Gregg N. Sofer of the United States Attorney's Office in Austin, Texas (formerly of the Department of Justice, Counterterrorism Section) with assistance from Trial Attorneys Jerome J. Teresinski and David I. Miller of the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department's National Security Division. The new indictment follows an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Chicago , Illinois, Toledo, Ohio, and Atlanta , Georgia .

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government's burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice