- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 9, 2010

UPDATED:

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City man under investigation for his links to a terror suspect pleaded not guilty Saturday to charges that he flew to Pakistan to get military training from al Qaeda.

Adis Medunjanin entered the plea during a swift arraignment at a federal court in Brooklyn. He faces counts of receiving military training from a foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country.

The 25-year-old was one of two Queens men arrested early Friday in connection with the investigation of Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport driver who pleaded not guilty last year to supporting terrorism.

The indictment made public by prosecutors on Saturday provided scant details on the accusations against Medunjanin, who was born in Bosnia but is a U.S. citizen.

It said the charges were related to a trip he made to Pakistan in August of 2008. Prosecutors have said that Zazi, Medunjanin and a third man, Zarein Ahmedzay, traveled there together that summer. All three attended high school together and lived for years in the same Queens neighborhood.

Zazi has been under arrest since September, charged with getting explosives training from al Qaeda and later hatching a foiled plot to attack targets in New York with homemade bombs.

Ahmedzay pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he lied to the FBI during the probe about places he visited during the 2008 trip. He was taken into custody early Friday morning while working a late-night shift driving a cab in Manhattan.

Ahmedzay, 24, and Medunjanin were first publicly linked to the investigation in September, when the FBI raided their homes shortly before Zazi’s arrest.

FBI agents had Medunjanin under surveillance, but apparently did not intend to arrest him when they went to his Queens apartment Thursday afternoon to seize his passport. Once that happened, authorities say he became upset and took off in his car.

A law enforcement official confirmed reports that Medunjanin then phoned 911 and ranted in Arabic, “We love death more than you love life,” before purposely ramming his car into another vehicle and fleeing on foot.

The official was not authorized to discuss the arrest and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

After being captured and treated for minor injuries, federal investigators took him into custody.

Defense attorney Robert C. Gottlieb insisted Friday that Medunjanin had done nothing wrong. He claimed that federal authorities had questioned him for hours without letting him speak to a lawyer or his family.

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