Former D.C. Schools Facility Director Accused of Extremist Ties

Arrest alleges Jayyousi helped raise money for Muslim fighters before he held D.C. public schools position


DETROIT (AP) - A former public schools official in Detroit and Washington has been ordered to remain in custody on charges of conspiring in the mid- and late 1990s to raise money and recruit Muslim extremists to fight in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya and Somalia.

A criminal complaint issued in December and unsealed Monday in Miami charges Kifah Wael Jayyousi, 43, of Detroit, and Kassem Daher with conspiring to provide material support and resources for terrorism and with conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim or injure people in a foreign country.

Jayyousi and Daher are accused of conspiring with Adham Amin Hassoun, of Broward County, Fla. Hassoun has been in U.S. custody since 2002 and has been indicted separately on the same charges as the other two men.

Jayyousi was ordered held following Wednesday's hearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit, but is appealing the decision.

Prosecutors want Jayyousi to be transferred to Miami to face charges, but his lawyer, William Swor, is asking that the appeal be heard in Detroit, where his client currently is being held.

Swor said he expected to file a brief on the issue Thursday. An appeal hearing could be held the same day, he said.

On Wednesday, Swor told the court that the charges are bogus and that Jayyousi should be freed. He said Jayyousi, a civil engineer and adjunct engineering professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, was on sabbatical.

In his decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen said Jayyousi was a flight risk, the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News reported. But Whalen said he didn't think Jayyousi poses a threat.

Authorities said Jayyousi, a former Detroit Public Schools assistant superintendent and a former facilities director in the District of Columbia school system, was arrested Sunday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after arriving from Amsterdam. U.S. Customs agents detained him after a routine computer check showed he was wanted on a federal warrant out of Miami.

Conspiring to provide material support and resources for terrorism carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The other charge carries a maximum penalty of 35 years to life in prison.

Daher is a Lebanese citizen with Canadian residency status and currently resides in Lebanon, according to an FBI affidavit.

Jayyousi left Detroit Public Schools in 1999 for the D.C. job. He was fired from that job in April 2001, The Washington Post reported. A court affidavit signed by an FBI agent said he moved to Egypt in 2003.

Most recently, Jayyousi, who was born in Jordan and became a citizen in 1987, had been working as an engineering contractor for a Dearborn-based company in Qatar, Swor said. He said he maintains his home in Detroit.

Swor said Jayyousi had been interviewed eight times by the FBI since 1995. He said he had never attempted to flee and in fact registered with the U.S. Embassy in Qatar.