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Swedish terror suspect worked for Al-Qaeda: prosecutors

Published: 22 Apr 2009 07:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Apr 2009 07:25 GMT+02:00

As the trial of a Swedish citizen facing terror charges began in New York on Tuesday, prosecutors argued that the man planned to set up an Al-Qaeda terrorist training camp in the United States.

Ousama Kassir was extradited to the United States in September 2007 from Prague, where he was jailed after his arrest in 2005 during a stopover while flying from Sweden to Lebanon.

"This case concerns a global conspiracy that takes place down here in the United States," assistant US attorney Michael Farbiarz told judge John Keenan in the US district court in Manhattan.

Kassir, 43, is charged with conspiring with others to set up a "jihad" (holy war) camp in Oregon, in the northwest United States, that would offer military weapons training for Muslims interested in fighting in Afghanistan.

Kassir declared his innocence when he was charged last year, and his lawyer on Tuesday said his client had "a big mouth," but was not a criminal.

Kassir arrived in the United States in 1999 and spent a year at an Oregon ranch, imparting religious teachings at a Seattle mosque before returning to Europe, according to the prosecution.

"You are going to see a knife that he used for training at the ranch," Farbiarz told the jury as Kassir, in a red tunic, listened through an interpreter.

"You will see the bomb making manuals and the poison making manuals," he added.

Farbiarz said next week he would call James Ujaama, a former activist from Seattle who has admitted supporting the Al-Qaeda network and is now a witness for the prosecution.

Kassir allegedly admitted before witnesses he supported Al-Qaeda and its boss Osama bin Laden.

The US government also accused Kassir of being a follower of Egyptian Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, currently jailed in Britain for inciting to violence.

"He did it for Abu Hamza, he did it for Al-Qaeda, he did it for Jihad," Farbiarz said.

Defense lawyer Mark DeMarco denied the charges, and said his client was not a terrorist.

"He is certainly not a terrorist, he is certainly not a member of Al-Qaeda," said DeMarco.

He asked the jury for "a fair trial."

The trial is expected to last at least four weeks. Kassir could face life in prison if found guilty.

Kassir was born in Lebanon and has Swedish citizenship.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:50 April 22, 2009 by Eurostan
sweden is such a naive state that sweden allowing more terrorists than before. they came like students from pakistan and bangladesh and indian muslim people. go to any swedish university you can see them in islamic dressing. last week in UK 12 students from pakistan are arrested on terror charges. there is also crazy and criminals among swedish and western people but they never say that they are doing it for god.

some argue that islam is great and better than western culture but people from islamic countries they came to sweden and never go back to their countries they keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep on studying in any one of the swedish universities.
12:45 June 11, 2009 by citizentimes
see on you tube /watch?v=w0svOnYqttQ
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