Terror funding defendant wants federal case dismissed

AP News
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Posted: Oct 09, 2015 12:12 PM

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Bosnian man has asked a federal judge in St. Louis to toss out an indictment accusing him of supporting terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, insisting prosecutors lack sufficient facts proving he tried to underwrite terrorism.

Armin Harcevic, who used to live in Missouri but now lives in California, was one of six people indicted in February on charges of funneling money and military supplies to fighters with foreign terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

Harcevic, who has pleaded not guilty to felony counts of conspiracy and of providing material support to terrorists, said in a court filing Wednesday that no evidence supports the U.S. government's contention that any money he may have sent to Abdullah Ramo Pazara, a Bosnian man who left St. Louis in 2013 to fight in Syria, was used for terrorism. Authorities have said Pazara died in Syria.

The indictment implies that Harcevic's contributions could be used as part of the plot to kill or maim, according to the filing.

"The knowledge or intent to support a conspirator is not the same thing as supporting a conspiracy, because this is only one possibility," it says. "Another possibility is that Pazara used the funds to provide food and medicine to the local population, or spent the money on wine, women and song, all things that combatants have been known to do in the combat zone, but which would not constitute a conspiracy to commit murder."

The Associated Press left a message Friday seeking comment from federal prosecutors in the case.

Another defendant, Jasminka Ramic, pleaded guilty last month to a conspiracy count and is to be sentenced in January. Ramic, who became a U.S. citizen in 2006 and formerly lived in Rockford, Illinois, was accused of contributing $700 to the effort.

Other defendants include Ramiz Hodzic and his wife, Sedina Hodzic, of St. Louis County, Missouri. Federal authorities say Ramiz Hodzic used Facebook, PayPal, Western Union and the U.S. Postal Service to coordinate shipments of money and supplies through an overseas intermediary.

The Hodzics are accused of making 10 wire transfers totaling $8,850 and arranging two shipments of military supplies valued at $2,451. Sedina Hodzic is accused of aiding one of those transfers and shipping six boxes of military supplies.

During a St. Louis hearing Thursday, lawyers for the remaining defendants, who all have pleaded not guilty, were given until Nov. 16 to file motions to have their cases dismissed. Prosecutors then get a month to respond.