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In Reversal, Judge Sets Bail for N.Y. Mosque Leaders in Terrorism Case

August 25, 2004|From Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — A federal judge set bail Tuesday for two mosque leaders accused of supporting terrorism, reversing a decision after concluding the men were not as dangerous as he had thought.

Magistrate Judge David Homer set bail at $250,000 each for Yassin M. Aref and Mohammed M. Hossain, who were arrested in an FBI sting operation built around a fictitious plot to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat.

The judge had ruled that the accused were a threat to the community and a flight risk. But he ordered a second detention hearing after prosecutors acknowledged an apparent misinterpretation in a crucial document.

Homer said the men were less of a danger to the community and less of a flight risk than he had thought. "Evidence in this case appears less strong than it did," he said.

The indictment said a notebook found in a terrorist camp in Iraq last summer included an Arabic entry referring to Aref as "commander."

But FBI translators later said the phrase in Kurdish meant "brother."

An FBI informant told the suspects he was an arms dealer and asked Hossain to launder money from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile that would be used to kill a diplomat in New York City, the federal complaint said.

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