By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A young Pennsylvania man accused of being an Islamic State supporter withdrew his request to get out of jail pending trial, saying his parents feared the scrutiny he would draw if released to them on bail.
Jalil Aziz, 19, of Harrisburg, who has been in custody in Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg since December, had been expected to ask for his release to his parents' custody on Tuesday when he entered a plea of not guilty to additional charges filed against him by federal authorities last week.
But defense lawyer Thomas Thornton told U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner that the young man's parents, Ameer and Sameera Aziz, had decided against taking him back in.
"Although they have love and concern for their son, they cannot undergo the scrutiny by the public and the news media if he came home," Thornton said.
Authorities confiscated five loaded assault rifle magazines, a knife, and other items when they searched the house in December.
Jalil Aziz was initially charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. The new charges accuse him, prior to his arrest, of using social media via his cellphone in an attempt to recruit assassins to murder U.S. military personnel.
Aziz said in court papers he was denied contact with his parents and denied religious books during his first seven weeks of detention. His lawyer eventually won permission for the parents to visit for a half hour each week.
At the end of February, according to court papers, Aziz was put in disciplinary segregation and all privileges and property taken away because prison authorities believed he was trying to recruit his cellmate to the Islamic State.
His lawyer argued that electronic monitoring would suffice to protect the public if he were released, but federal prosecutors strongly disagreed.
"The defendant's parents admitted, to varying degrees, that they were generally aware of his conduct and unable to stop him," prosecutors said in a court filing.
No date has been set for Aziz's trial.
(Reporting by David DeKok; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Jonathan Oatis)