Terror Suspects in CourtJune 7, 2010 - 2:01 PM | by: Jonathan Wachtel
Charged with conspiring to commit an act of international terrorism, suspects Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte appeared in a packed federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo ordered the shackled men with thick, black beards held without bail during the brief hearing. They are scheduled for a detention hearing on Thursday morning.
The men affirmed their identity when asked but remained silent, staring stoically at the magistrate and prosecutors. Their appointed federal defense attorneys said nothing. Alessa had what appeared to be healing cuts on the left side of his forehead and cheekbone. As he entered Courtroom 4C, his mother, seated next to his father said, “They hit him. They hit him on his face.”
U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Paul Fishman said both men resisted arrest. When asked by the press whether the men represented a real and present danger to society, Fishman said, “This is a very real danger, it’s one that the Department of Justice and our law enforcement take very seriously. You’ve seen this and a number of other cases in which people in the United States are alleged to have become radicalized – to use the word someone else just used – and decided that what they would like to do is engage in violent activity against Americans or against people overseas.”
As the men walked out of the court, Alessa turned to his parents, smiled widely, raised his pointer on his right shackled hand and then pressed the same hand against his heart. Acknowledging each other, his father pressed his right hand against his heart and ran his hands along his face.
Beaming, Alessa repeated the gestures as he was escorted out. Almonte’s parents were nowhere to be seen. According to the federal complaint, the young men had developed radical Islamic views through Jihadist videos they downloaded from the Internet. They had plans to join the group al Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked Somali group, according to prosecutors.
If convicted, American-born Alessa of Palestinian descent and Almonte, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in the Dominican Republic, could face life in prison.