Sunday, January 10, 2010

Zazi Update: More Arrests (Reuters)

Zazi associate charged in New York bomb plot
Sat, Jan 9 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former high school classmate of a man accused of plotting an al Qaeda-inspired bomb attack in New York pleaded not guilty on Saturday to charges of murder conspiracy and receiving training by a terrorist organization.

Adis Medunjanin, 25, a U.S. citizen of Bosnian origin, had been arrested after a car chase that ended in a collision on a New York City bridge.

At a Saturday arraignment at Brooklyn federal court, Medunjanin was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country, Pakistan, and one count of obtaining military-style training from al Qaeda.

Medunjanin, a building superintendent, appeared wearing a black hooded jacket and blue warm-up pants. He is being held without bond and U.S. District Judge Viktor Pohorelsky scheduled a detention hearing for January 14. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Loonam said he would seek a permanent order of detention.

Zarein Ahmedzay, a 24-year-old man of Afghani origin, also was arrested on Friday and pleaded not guilty to a charge of making false statements to the FBI -- specifically, that he lied about where he had visited in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay attended high school in New York City with Afghan-born Najibullah Zazi, 24, who was arrested in September and accused of plotting a bomb attack in New York City on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Zazi has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Investigators allege the three men traveled to Pakistan together in 2008 and attended an al Qaeda training camp.

Speaking to reporters after the arraignment, Medunjanin's lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, declined to comment on Medunjanin's relationship with Zazi or the circumstances of his arrest.

"We entered an emphatic not guilty," Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb said Medunjanin had illegally been denied access to his attorney while in custody and said he would seek to have any statements made to investigators thrown out as inadmissible.

Medunjanin and Ahmedzay have been under surveillance since Zazi's arrest....

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