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RESPONSE TO TERROR | DETAINEES

Innocuous Make List, but Notables Don't

Law: The 93 face such charges as fraud and visa misuse. Others arrested and identified after attacks aren't included.

November 28, 2001|RICHARD A. SERRANO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — No. 38 on the government's list of suspected terrorists--released Tuesday evening as part of its first detailed account of detainees since Sept. 11--is Mustafa Camci, "aka Mustafa Camli," a Turkish man charged with possessing a fake Bulgarian passport.

He was arrested nine days after the terrorist attacks, taken into custody at his small apartment in New Castle, Del. After reading his passport, federal agents determined that Mr. Camci is Turkish--not the Mr. Camli from Bulgaria listed on the document.

According to a federal affidavit, Camci admitted that he bought the passport for $2,100 from "a friend he knew as Inan." He conceded that he was going to use it to apply for a U.S. Social Security card. "He knew those documents were fraudulent," the affidavit says.

For that, the man from Turkey allegedly pretending to be from Bulgaria remains in federal custody in Philadelphia.

His is but one of 93 names released on the 13-page list of those arrested in the terrorism investigation who subsequently were charged with federal offenses.

Criminal complaints against 11 detainees have been sealed from the public, and the government is holding an undetermined number of people as material witnesses.

While the list of detainees charged with federal crimes is remarkable for including the seemingly innocuous, such as Camci, it also is notable for leaving out certain people.

Not included are Zacarias Moussaoui, a Frenchman of Moroccan descent, who was arrested in Minnesota in August, and two natives of India, Mohammed Jaweed Azmath and Ayub Ali Khan, arrested on a train in Texas the day after the attacks.

But the list does include Lotfi Raissi, 27, an Algerian pilot suspected of assisting the hijackers with their flight training in the United States. He is being held in England on charges filed against him in Arizona.

What can be learned about the 92 others?

Twenty-nine are charged with having fraudulent licenses for hauling hazardous materials. Thirteen allegedly made false statements to authorities. Seventeen, like Camci, were arrested for fraud and misusing their visas. Seven were detained on firearm charges. One is still a fugitive on credit card charges.

Of the entire group, 61 remain in custody and another is under home detention.

For some Washington officials, such as Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), the Justice Department appears to be going too far in continuing to detain people with no connection to the World Trade Center or Pentagon attacks.

"There has been a shocking amount of power-grabbing by this administration, and their position on detainees is part of this larger pattern," Feingold said Tuesday.

Indeed, in many cases, federal judges and prosecutors have acknowledged in court and in interviews with The Times that the defendants are not terrorists.

In New York on Tuesday, a federal judge set bail for a San Diego County college student charged with lying about suspected ties to the hijackers. The judge noted that the evidence against him was "not particularly strong."

Osama Awadallah, 21, can now be freed until trial if his family or friends post $500,000 bail, and if his half brother posts the title to the ice cream truck from which he earns his living.

Awadallah, a student at Grossmont College in La Mesa, is charged with two counts of perjury for denying to a grand jury that he knew suspected hijacker Khalid Almihdhar. He later changed his testimony.

"I recognize that this grand jury was investigating one of the most serious crimes in this country's history--the Sept. 11 attacks," U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote in a 17-page decision. "However, my review of the grand jury testimony reveals that the evidence is not particularly strong."

She said Awadallah was introduced to Almihdhar once or twice by another accused terrorist, who Awadallah knew "casually . . . because they worked at the same gas station and worshiped at the same mosque."

From the documents released Tuesday, it appears that it is that type of oblique relationship or act that has landed others in jail as well.

Raza Nasir Khan, a 29-year-old Pakistani, was charged with being an illegal immigrant in possession of a firearm. Like Camci, he was arrested in Delaware.

In refusing Khan bail because of the gun charge, U.S. Magistrate Mary Pat Thynge said that "there is nothing here to suggest [and] there were no indications that this individual was a terrorist."

Arslan Absar Rizvi, 26, also is charged as an illegal immigrant with a firearm.

He was arrested Oct. 31, when local police went to his home in Bloomfield, Colo., on a warrant for domestic violence and assault. The police were accompanied by an INS agent who, according to a federal affidavit, learned that Rizvi's visa from Pakistan was no longer valid and found a .12-gauge shotgun in his basement.

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