- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 30, 2006

LOS ANGELES — A Northern Virginia woman who was found in Iraq was indicted yesterday on charges of providing support to a terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said.

Zeinab Taleb-Jedi, 51, of Herndon, went to Iraq in 1999 to attend a training camp run by the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK, the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said in a statement.

“During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Taleb-Jedi was discovered by coalition forces in a MEK training camp called Ashraf Base,” about 40 miles northwest of Baghdad, the statement said.

Miss Taleb-Jedi was among several MEK members who were caught and detained by the military, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office. He said she was in Iraq from August 1999 until last March, but he did not know when she was caught.

Miss Taleb-Jedi was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., on one count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization. She faces up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted.

An arraignment date has not been set, Mr. Mrozek said. Miss Taleb-Jedi was assigned a federal public defender in New York and was released on bond.

Miss Taleb-Jedi was being prosecuted in New York because her plane landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport on March 31 upon her return from Iraq. The case was being handled by Los Angeles-based prosecutors who have been involved in MEK-related investigations since the 1990s.

Miss Taleb-Jedi immigrated to the U.S. from Iran in 1978 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1996, the government said. Her aliases include Nayer Taleb-Jedi and Nire Taleb-Jedi, according to the two-page indictment.

The U.S. attorney’s office did not release any information on the woman’s occupation.

MEK, also known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, and its affiliates were deemed foreign terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department in 1997 when it created a list of terror groups that included al Qaeda. The designations bar anyone in the U.S. from providing material support.

The State Department says the MEK groups were funded by Saddam Hussein, supported the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and are responsible for the deaths of Americans in the 1970s.

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