NEW YORK – A teenager suspected of meeting with Islamic extremists to discuss possible U.S. targets for a terrorist attack sat silently in a Brooklyn courtroom Saturday during a brief hearing that followed his extradition from Bangladesh.
Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, a U.S. citizen, appeared slightly disheveled during the 10-minute session in U.S. District Court. He wore sandals but no shackles when he was brought before U.S. Magistrate Arlene R. Lindsay.
Defense attorney Douglas Morris said he hoped to prepare a bail application for Sadequee, who was accused of making materially false statements linked to an ongoing federal terrorism investigation. The suspect did not speak at the hearing.
Sadequee and Syed Haris Ahmed, a 21-year-old university student, met with at least three other targets of ongoing FBI terrorism investigations during a trip to Canada in March 2005, an FBI agent's affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, the men discussed attacks against oil refineries and military bases and planned to travel to Pakistan to get military training at a terrorist camp.
Sadequee was sent to a federal detention center following the preliminary hearing in Brooklyn. Morris declined to comment on the case outside court, and the terror suspect was due back in court on April 28.
Co-defendant Ahmed was indicted on suspicion of giving material support of terrorism, and was being held at an undisclosed location. He waived his right to arraignment and pleaded not guilty.
He was arrested on March 23, and faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Authorities said the two men spent several days in Canada, where they met with others being investigated by the terrorism task force.
Sadequee is accused of lying about the trip when he was interviewed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in August as he was about to leave for Bangladesh. The affidavit said Sadequee insisted that he traveled alone in January to visit an aunt.
When Sadequee's suitcase was searched at JFK, agents found a CD-ROM containing encrypted files that the FBI has been unable to decode and a map of the Washington area hidden in the lining, the affidavit said.
One day later, federal agents interviewed Ahmed, who was coming back from a monthlong trip to Pakistan, at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. He said he had gone to Toronto with Sadequee, according to the affidavit.
Federal agents found that money for both men's 2005 bus trip from Atlanta to Toronto was withdrawn from Sadequee's account.