- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

California prosecutor cites recorded conversations vowing ‘jihad’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One of two Lodi men charged with lying about their suspected terrorist connections vowed to wage a holy war against enemies of Islam, according to a brief filed by prosecutors in Sacramento federal court.

The prosecutors cite secretly recorded conversations in March and April 2003 between Hamid Hayat and a government undercover agent who befriended him and surreptitiously recorded their conversations.

According to the brief, Mr. Hayat “revealed that he understood the nature and structure of various known Pakistani terrorist groups and … (he) further swore that he would go to jihad.”

The information came to light as defense attorneys renewed efforts to get bail for Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father, Umer Hayat, 47.

But U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd on Tuesday refused to set bail, ruling there has been no material change since the Hayats were ordered held without bail in June.

“This is one of the most serious flight risks cases that have been before me in my eight years on the bench,” Judge Drozd said. “In my view this is not a half-a-million-dollar case. It would take a lot more security than that for me to grant bail, even if I did reopen the question.”

Fighting to keep the pair in jail, federal prosecutors R. Steven Lapham and S. Robert Tice-Raskin filed the court brief, which provides the most details yet of the men’s lives and reputed crimes.

The Hayats, both U.S. citizens, are charged in a grand jury indictment with making false statements to FBI agents about their reputed connections to and knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.

The Hayats have denied the charges.

The FBI investigation also targeted two Lodi imams, Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed, and Adil Khan’s son, Mohammad Hassan Adil. All three were jailed on immigration violations and were voluntarily deported to Pakistan.

The Hayats’ attorneys, Johnny Griffin III and Wazhma Mojaddidi, argued in a protracted hearing Monday and Tuesday that their clients are not charged with violent crimes and have been deprived of their right to a trial within 70 days of arraignment, so they should be released on bail pending trial. No trial date has been set.

In the 23-page brief opposing the Hayats’ release, Mr. Lapham and Mr. Tice-Raskin state the “weight of the evidence” against them “is substantial and compelling.”

For example, in April 2003, the Hayat family traveled to Pakistan. After they arrived, Hamid Hayat engaged in a series of secretly recorded telephone conversations with the undercover agent he had been talking to in Lodi, according to the brief.

Hamid Hayat advised the agent that he “had been accepted to ‘training’ and was going to attend the same after Ramadan in 2003,” the brief says.

In a reply brief, Mr. Griffin, who is Umer Hayat’s attorney, said “If the government had any credible evidence that the defendants were truly engaged in jihad and terrorist training, they would have sought an indictment for such conduct. Their refusal to do so is telling.”

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