- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2013

A federal judge ordered a teen who is charged with trying to join an al Qaeda terrorist group to fight in Syria to be released from jail and instead confined to his home — an unusually lax bail decision that outraged prosecutors, who quickly appealed.

Their appeal in effect halted the judge’s order, albeit only temporarily, The Chicago Tribune reported. For now, the suspect, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, will stay in jail. But Friday, that could change again. A different federal judge is set to hear another bail hearing, The Tribune said.

Prosecutors say Mr. Tounisi, 18, is a flight risk and a danger to the community. He’s accused to providing support to a terrorist group, and he’s been in federal custody since April 19, when he was arrested at O’Hare International Airport.

Specifically, prosecutors say Mr. Tounisi posted messages on a website that he thought was a message board to the Al-Nusra Front radical militant group, but was really an FBI set-up. In the messages, he agreed to travel to Syria to fight with the militants, attorneys for the government claim, The Tribune reported.

Mr. Tounisi is also believed to have ties to another Chicago-area terrorism suspect who was arrested in September for setting off a bomb outside a bar in the city, The Tribune reported.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin, while ordering Mr. Tounisi’s release from jail in favor of confinement to home, called his decision a “close, close” call, The Tribune reported. He was swayed, in part, by the many family members who attended the hearing on Mr. Tounisi’s behalf, The Tribune said.

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