LA judge denies bond for Fla. man in terror case

AP News
Posted: May 19, 2011 4:29 PM
LA judge denies bond for Fla. man in terror case

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly denied bond for a Florida man charged with funneling money to support Pakistani terrorists, saying there was sufficient evidence to show the defendant might take off and be a danger to others.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams said Irfan Khan, 37, should remain in custody, despite having "a lack of meat" in the allegations against the married father of two. He sat in a white prison jumpsuit next to his attorney. Abrams noted Khan has family in Pakistan and has a history of traveling abroad.

He was arrested over the weekend at a Los Angeles hotel and was ordered by Abrams to be returned to Miami, where he was charged with his younger brother, Izhar Khan, 24 and their father, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76.

All three are charged with conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists. If convicted, they each face 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Irfan Khan funneled nearly $3,000 to Pakistan Taliban supporters in mid-2008 and another $500 in July 2009.

Government attorneys also said that in June 2009, he and his father were heard in an FBI-recorded conversation. During the discussion, the elder Khan called for an attack on the Pakistani Assembly resembling a suicide bombing of a Marriott hotel in Islamabad nine months earlier in which 54 people were killed, prosecutors said.

In arguing for bond, deputy federal public defender Jill Ginstling said the indictment doesn't specify who received the money sent by her client, and he hasn't traveled to Pakistan since 2006.

"The weight of the evidence is very slim," Ginstling said.

Abrams said recorded conversations not involving Irfan Khan would not factor into his decision on whether he could be released.

Ginstling also argued the case isn't akin to a defendant being accused of shipping weapons that are used for terrorism.

However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Grigg noted that Irfan Khan's conspiracy case speaks directly to the terrorist cause in which money is purportedly used to buy weapons or explosives.

"It's expressly material support ... that allows them (terrorists) to conduct their operation," Grigg said. "These charges are in relation to a group that is active right now."