- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A federal grand jury in Alexandria has returned a nine-count indictment against a Falls Church man detained in Saudi Arabia in June 2003 and later returned to the United States to face charges of plotting to assassinate President Bush.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen who was 1999 valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy in Alexandria, is accused of conspiracy to assassinate the president, among other charges.

His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday before Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said the superseding indictment charges Mr. Abu Ali with three offenses not included in the original indictment:

• Conspiracy to assassinate the president as part of a plot discussed with members of an al Qaeda cell, during which Mr. Abu Ali agreed to carry out the assassination himself through the use of snipers or a suicide bombing operation.

• Conspiracy in a scheme with the leader of an al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia to hijack commercial aircraft departing from locations outside the United States and transiting U.S. airspace.

• Conspiracy to destroy an aircraft.

Mr. McNulty said the indictment accuses Mr. Abu Ali of proposing several kinds of terrorist attacks against the United States to the leader of an al Qaeda cell in Saudi Arabia, including attacks on aircraft departing the country.

A six-count indictment filed in February said Mr. Abu Ali told unidentified co-conspirators at meetings in 2002 and 2003 that he wanted to become a planner of terrorist operations like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11, and Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers in the attacks.

Mr. Abu Ali told the court during a hearing this summer that he had been tortured by Saudi officials. His attorney, Edward MacMahon, said the government’s case relied on information obtained through torture and that his client is not guilty.

In July, Mr. Abu Ali’s parents filed a lawsuit accusing the government of working with Saudi officials to ensure their son’s unlawful detention in the kingdom, where it was known he would be tortured. That case is pending before U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington.


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