RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The attorney of a Southern California terror suspect is questioning authorities' handling of his client, who had injuries to his face and head when he was turned over to the FBI by U.S. military officials in Afghanistan.
When Sohiel Omar Kabir arrived in California last week he had a broken facial bone, lacerations and was suffering from memory loss, according to Deputy Federal Public Defender Jeffrey Aaron.
"We think a lot of the injuries occurred during his arrest," Aaron told the Long Beach Press Telegram (http://bit.ly/Vx4wAc). "We're investigating what happened and why he wasn't hospitalized."
Kabir, 34, was captured Nov. 17 by U.S. special forces in Kabul, where he was staying with family members, and held for two weeks by the military before being turned over to the FBI.
FBI spokesman Laura Eimiller said Kabir suffered "combat-related injuries" during his capture. The injuries were treated by American medical personnel and he was cleared to be taken back to the U.S.
Kabir, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the suspected ringleader of a plot to kill Americans and bomb military bases overseas.
He and three other defendants —Ralph Deleon and Arifeen Gojail, both 21, and Miguel Santana Vidriales, 23 — have pleaded not guilty, the newspaper said.
Deleon, Vidriales and Gojali were arrested as they waited to board a plane headed for Istanbul on their way to Afghanistan to meet with Kabir, authorities said.
In video calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange meetings with terrorists, investigators said.
The group prepared for their trip to the Middle East by simulating combat with paintball rifles and concocting cover stories, court documents state.
Authorities don't believe there were any plans for an attack in the U.S., but Deleon and Vidriales told a confidential FBI informant they would consider American jihad, according to an FBI affidavit.
The case against Kabir is based on hearsay statements from co-defendants and an FBI informant, Aaron said, adding that federal prosecutors have turned over few documents since the arrest.
If convicted, each of the four defendants could face up to 15 years in prison.
Information from: Press-Telegram, http://www.presstelegram.com