Chicago terror suspect asked about attacking non-Muslims before sting, FBI agent testifies

This undated file photo provided by the US Marshals office shows Chicago terrorism suspect Adel Daoud. (US Marshals office via AP, File)
Updated 30 April 2019

Chicago terror suspect asked about attacking non-Muslims before sting, FBI agent testifies

  • Daoud was arrested in 2012 after he pushed a button on a remote he believed would detonate a bomb outside a crowded bar
  • Defense attorneys say Daoud's case is an example of how the FBI often snares the psychologically vulnerable in such stings

CHICAGO: A multiday sentencing hearing began Monday in Chicago and focused on whether FBI agents manipulated a mentally fragile teenager to participate in a terrorist plot or whether he had long before shown an eagerness to kill.
Prosecutors called an FBI agent to the witness stand to tell Adel Daoud’s sentencing judge that Daoud posted social media comments inquiring about attacking non-Muslims more than a year before undercover agents ever engaged him as part of a sting.
Authorities arrested Daoud in late 2012 after he pushed a button on a remote he believed would detonate a 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) bomb outside a crowded Chicago bar. Prosecutors want a 40-year prison term for Daoud, who entered an Alford plea in November.
Defense attorneys say the now-25-year-old, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Hillside, is a textbook example of how the agency often snares the psychologically vulnerable in such stings. They want US District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman to release him as soon as a mental health treatment plan can be developed for him.
The agent who took the stand first, Jeff Parsons, read postings Monday in which Daoud expressed admiration for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, described himself as an aspiring terrorist and even typed keywords like, “I am a terrorist” and “download terrorist magazine,” on search engines.
Defense attorney Thomas Durkin suggested during cross-examination later Monday that Daoud’s overt and clumsy online chat about being a terrorist should have been a strong sign he was no such thing.
“How many terrorists do you know who have literally proclaimed online that, ‘I am a terrorist?’” Durkin asked Parsons. The agent answered he hadn’t heard of others.
The agent said he saw nothing in Daoud’s postings indicating he suffered from mental illness. He said Daoud showed initiative, suggesting to undercover agents that fitting butcher knives to a truck and driving it into a crowd would be a way to kill many people at once.
Durkin mentioned another idea of Daoud’s — to stage attacks by deploying “flying cars.” He said that idea should have been one of many red flags.
“Did it ever occur to you ... that the person you were dealing with was unstable?” Durkin asked the agent.
“I didn’t see anything indicating he was mentally unstable,” Parsons answered.
The agent also read comments Daoud posted admitting he may not have the qualities for a militant, saying, “I got asthma and flat feet. ... And I have never even held a gun before.” He added: “I have a terrible case of procrastination and laziness.”
In 2016, Coleman temporarily deemed Daoud mentally unfit after ruling that he seemed sincere about assertions that Illuminati and “reptilian overlords” were out to get him.
On Tuesday, prosecutors intend to call an undercover agent who played a central role in the sting against Daoud. Prosecutors say the agent’s life would be in danger if his identity is revealed public, so he will either testify in a disguise or from behind a screen.


Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

Updated 10 December 2019

Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

  • International Court of Justice seeks to address atrocities committed by Myanmar

DHAKA: Several members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar expressed optimism on Monday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would rule in their favor once it began its three-day hearing against Myanmar on Tuesday.

The case was filed by Gambia on behalf of all Muslim nations from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the ICJ over the alleged persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar military.

On Nov. 18, the court decided to hold the hearings from Dec.10 to 12. Gambia’s justice minister will lead his country during the hearings.

Both Canada and Bangladesh have been supporting Gambia by providing different data and information regarding the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s state councillor and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has already reached  the Netherlands to lead the defense lawyers on behalf of her country at the ICJ.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will remain present at the courtroom to witness the process.

He will lead a 20-member team, comprising government officials and civil society representatives.

Rohingya at Cox’s Bazar are highly optimistic of securing justice at the ICJ.

“We think justice will be ensured because all international human rights groups, different UN organizations and the international community have got evidence of the persecution on the Rohingya. All of them have visited the refugee camps many times and listened to the plight of the Rohingya,” Sawyed Ullah, a community leader from Jamtoli, told Arab News.

“Also, we have strong evidences of atrocities committed by the Myanmar government to root out the Rohingya from their birth place, Rakhine,” Ullah added.

“Without ensuring accountability, there will not be any safety and justice in Rakhine. Once the accountability is restored,  all of us will be able to go back home.”

Ramjan Ali, another refugee from the Kutupalang camp, said: “Myanmar’s government has forcibly displaced the Rohingya from their own land and that compelled us to shelter here at the refugee camps. Isn’t it enough evidence to justify our allegations against the Myanmar government?”

Ramjan Ali added: “Still the situation in Rakhine is very bad as we receive information from our relatives over there. We need protection from the international forces before any repatriation, and the ICJ’s decision will be helpful for us in this regard.”

Rohingya human rights activist Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the German-based Free Rohingya Coalition described the ICJ’s move as historic.

“It is first ever since we are persecuted. We have been seeking for justice since very long time,” Lwin told Arab News, adding that “finally the case is now at the world court and although it will take several years we are now excited for provisional measures from the court.”

Lwin, along with some 200 Rohingya rights activists from around the world, is set to hold a protest rally at the Hague from Dec. 11 during the ICJ’s hearing.

“We are expecting very much from the ICJ. Regardless whether Myanmar follows the decisions of the court this will have a huge impact. There won’t be any other justice mechanisms if this international court of justice can’t ensure the justice for us,” added Lwin.

Expressing his frustration on the repatriation process, Lwin said that the Myanmar government still had a “genocidal policy” on the Rohingya.

“I don’t think repatriation of the Rohingya will take place soon unless the government is considering to fulfill our demands,” he said.

The ICJ’s final decision will hold strong significance as any decisions taken by the ICJ are binding on member states.

Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories of the Genocide Convention.