9/1/2014

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Portland terrorism suspect freed before trial

Portland terrorism suspect freed before trial

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Portland city employee charged with funneling money to a suicide bomber and, later, the bomber's widow, was freed Thursday on conditional release until his trial.

Reaz Qadir Khan, an employee of the city's wastewater department, is accused of aiding a 2009 suicide bombing of the headquarters of Pakistan's intelligence agency by providing money and instructions to one of the attackers.

Later, prosecutors say, Khan sent $750 from Oregon to one of the man's two widows in the Maldives.

The terrorism charges could lead to a life sentence, and Khan has ties to Pakistan. Those facts, prosecutors said, make him a serious flight risk.

But on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Michael Mossman found that Khan's ties to the community and his clean criminal record make him unlikely to run before trial.

In addition, Khan has known about the investigation since December — and knew the case was one in which people died — but he didn't flee.

Mossman ordered Khan to avoid contact with two people connected to the case, whose names were not made public.

Khan will also have to abide by certain terms of release, including posting a $2,500 bond.

Khan had to show the details of his assets, which included an account in Pakistan. Mossman said that account concerned him, but Khan said the account is inactive and he can't withdraw money from it.

Until his trial, Khan must remain at his southwest Portland home except to go to work, religious services, medical appointments, court hearings and meetings with his lawyer, The Oregonian reported.

The city has said he would be placed on paid administrative leave for now.

Khan must also wear a GPS ankle bracelet and allow monitoring devices on his computers. He can't conduct financial transactions of more than $500 without court permission.

Khan, 48, was charged Tuesday with providing support to a suicide bomber who participated in a 2009 attack on Pakistan's intelligence agency that killed about 30 people and injured another 300.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors have said that Khan was a danger to flee the country, given his family ties in Pakistan and the possibility of a life sentence if he's convicted. But two federal judges Wednesday disagreed with that assessment and ruled he could be released pending trial.

Khan's attorney, Amy Baggio, said Khan has been a good employee of the city who cooperated with investigators.

On Wednesday, Mossman noted the time between the most recent alleged criminal action in 2009 and the indictment, and said Khan could have fled.

An indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges the naturalized U.S. citizen provided advice and financial help to Ali Jaleel, one of three people who carried out the attack at Pakistan's intelligence headquarters in Lahore.

Jaleel died in the attack. He took responsibility for the bombing in a video released by al-Qaida and was shown at a training camp, federal officials say.

According to the indictment, Khan conspired with Jaleel and others starting in December 2005.

Jaleel allegedly emailed Khan in 2008 about his plan to travel to Pakistan. Two years earlier, Jaleel had been part of a small group from the Maldives that tried to enter Pakistan for training, but he was detained, returned home and placed under house arrest.

The indictment alleges that Khan instructed Jaleel on how to avoid detection and offered to help with financial arrangements.

In October 2008, Jaleel wrote that he needed $2,500. According to the indictment, Khan contacted someone in Los Angeles who arranged to have the money waiting for Jaleel in Karachi, Pakistan.

Jaleel wrote to Khan the following month, saying he was about to enter a training camp and did not need all the money. Khan allegedly told Jaleel to keep the money so it could be sent to Jaleel's two wives in the Maldives.

Shortly after the suicide attack, Khan wired almost $750 from an Oregon store to one of Jaleel's wives, the indictment states.

Khan has lived in the U.S. since 1988, when he began a master's degree program in New Jersey. After he graduated in 1991, Khan moved briefly to Dallas and then Fullerton, Calif. He lived in California from 1991 until 2004 or 2005, when he moved to Vancouver, Wash., and finally settled in Portland in 2006.

He has three children, all younger than 14.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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