WORCHESTER, Mass. – Rezwan Ferdaus, the 26-year-old man accused of conspiring to fly explosive packed remote controlled model planes into the Pentagon and the U.S Capitol was arraigned Monday at U.S District Court in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The charges against him were read, including attempting to destroy a building using explosives and receiving explosive materials. In a quiet, steady voice he pleaded not guilty.
Shackled and wearing a brown prison jumpsuit, Ferdaus was led into the courtroom by U.S. Marshals, nodding briefly to family seated in the front row.
"We're all here for you" said his mother, crying audibly as others called "we love you."
Ferdaus was arrested by federal agents last week, ensnared in a lengthy sting operation in which the defendant thought he was communicating with Al Qaeda operatives. He was arrested after the FBI provided him with 25-pounds of C4 explosives. Investigators charge he planned to attach the explosives to the model planes and target Washington D.C., even traveling to the nation's capital to plan logistics for the attack.
A U.S. citizen, Ferdaus graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in physics in 2008 and was living with his parents at their suburban Boston home. His father, Showket, and mother, Ana, were in court along with several other family members. In a strange twist, Ahmed Mehanna, the father of Tarek Mehanna, a 27-year-old Sudbury, Mass., man also accused of plotting a terror attack, sat with the Ferdaus family.