WASHINGTON, March 6: The man suspected of aiding a 2009 terrorist attack on an ISI office in Lahore appeared for a custody hearing on Wednesday in a court in Portland, Oregon.
FBI agents arrested Reaz Qadir Khan on Tuesday from his home in Portland for assisting a suicide bomber who participated in the 2009 bombing that killed about 30 people and injured 300.
Mr Khan, 48, was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, US Attorney Amanda Marshall said. He pleaded not guilty.
Mr Khan is a wastewater treatment plant operator for the city of Portland.
Portland’s main newspaper, The Oregonian, reported that an email Mr Khan received in early 2006 alerted FBI agents. The email was from Ali Jaleel, one of three men responsible for the May 2009 attack on the ISI headquarters in Lahore.
In that email, Mr Jaleel reminded Mr Khan of his past devotion to seek martyrdom for Allah.
“Where are the words you said with tears in your eyes that ‘we shall strive until Allah’s word is superior or until we perish’???” the email reportedly stated.
In October and November 2008, the two exchanged half a dozen emails, including one from Mr Jaleel, telling Mr Khan that he needed $2,500 to pay for his admission to a terrorist training camp. Mr Jaleel also asked Mr Khan to take care of his family and sent him another email a few days later indicating that he would soon be in Pakistan.
Mr Jaleel lived in the Maldives.
A few days later, Mr Khan sent an email to Jaleel, instructing him to pick up the money from an associate of Mr Khan’s. Mr Jaleel later wrote back to let him know now he needed only $1,000. Mr Khan advised Mr Jaleel to send the remaining cash to his two wives in the Maldives.
Mr Khan also inquired with his associate about how to help the two wives go to Pakistan. Shortly after the suicide attack, Mr Khan wired almost $750 from an Oregon store to one of Mr Jaleel’s wives, the indictment states.
Mr Jaleel died in the attack. He took responsibility for the bombing in a video released by Al Qaeda, and was shown at a training camp.
The video, posted on The Oregonian’s website, shows Mr Jaleel addressing the camera with assault weapons by his side. “This war between us and you will never end,” and, “It is really useless for you to fight back,” he says.
The arrest “brings home the reality that worldwide headlines can resonate right here in Portland,” Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. The mayor urged people to remember that charges are only allegations and that Mr Khan is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
If convicted, Mr Khan faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
Mr Khan’s attorney, Larry Matasar, refused to discuss the charges against his client.
“We just have to take this one step at a time,” he told The Oregonian. “We’re going to first try to get him released from custody.”