California Man with al Qaeda ties granted bail

“In our eyes, this isn’t just an immigration case. In our view, the defendant is involved with the mujahadeen himself.” -Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot, referring to Ahmadullah Niazi.

26 February 2009: Ahmadullah NIAZI, 34, of Tustin, California appeared in U.S. District Court Tuesday on perjury charges for allegedly lying about his ties to al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist group on his citizenship application. NIAZI, who has not yet entered a plea, is scheduled for arraignment next month. U.S. Magistrate Arthur Nakazato set bail at $500,000,  and further ruled that NIAZI ruled that Niazi must submit to electronic monitoring and home detention, surrender his passport and other travel documents.

NIAZI is charged with perjury, procurement of naturalization unlawfully, passport fraud and making a false statement. He faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of all charges. According to the FBI, however, there is much more to the NIAZI case than just perjury. NIAZI, who is the brother-in-law of Amin al-Haq, a high ranking member of al Qaeda and a perosnal bodyguard of Osama bin Laden around and after Sept. 11, 2001, has allegedly admitted to meeting Osama bin Laden himself in Afghanistan in 1996. Additionally, it was indicated by the FBI that NIAZI was involved in discussions with a FBI informant that allegedly involved attacks on Orange County shopping centers, military installations and court buildings. At Tuesday’s hearing, Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III testified that NIAZI told the informant that it was his “duty to engage in violent jihad.”

Although no terror-related charges have been filed against NIAZI, authorities are contnuing their search of computer files and other documents possessed by NIAZI.

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