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TERRORISM CASE

Judge postpones trial of three terror suspects

By the time their cases go to trial next year, three men accused of providing financial support to terrorists will have been locked up – or on house arrest – for two and a half years.

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U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Helmick.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Helmick recently postponed the trial of Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 38; Asif Ahmed Salim, 37, and Sultane Roome Salim, 42, until April 23, 2018.

Mr. Mohammad's brother, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, pleaded guilty July 10 to conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists in the same case. He also pleaded guilty to solicitation to commit a crime of violence for a 2016 plot to kill U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary, who at the time was assigned to the terrorism case.

RELATED: Defendant asks to be released on bond again

As part of a plea agreement, Yahya Farooq Mohammad is expected to be sentenced to 27 ½ years in prison. After serving the sentence, he would then be permanently deported to India.

The two sets of brothers were indicted by a federal grand jury in September, 2015 on charges that they conspired to raise and deliver some $29,000 to American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2009. Federal prosecutors allege they raised the money in support of “violent jihad.”

The Mohammad brothers and Asif Ahmed Salim have been in custody since their arrests, while Sultane Roome Salim was released from jail in November, 2015 after his mother posted a $500,000 property bond and agreed that her son, his wife, and their three children would live with her in Cambridge, Ohio.

Mr. Salim, who was living in Columbus at the time of his arrest, recently petitioned the court to allow him to leave his mother's home to go to a commercial property she owns to meet with prospective real estate agents, contractors, and tenants on her behalf. Prior to his arrest, his motion states, he managed the property for his mother.

Judge Jeffrey Helmick, who now is assigned to the terrorism case, granted the motion Wednesday, writing that Mr. Salim may travel to the property not more than 20 hours per week during business hours on weekdays. He must notify his pretrial services officer for prior approval and be accompanied by a third-party custodian. The judge also permitted Mr. Salim to go outside of his mother's house during daylight hours so long as he does not leave her property.

Attorneys for both Asif Ahmed Salim and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad have tried unsuccessfully to get their clients released from jail prior to trial. Toledo attorney Dave Klucas, who represents Ibrahim Mohammad said this week that he intends to ask again.

“We're going to try again,” he said. “It's all about the duration of the lock-up without a trial.”

Ibrahim Mohammad is the only one of the four co-defendants with ties to Toledo. He and his family had lived in the Toledo area for approximately 10 years while Mr. Salim worked for an engineering firm here. Shortly before the federal indictment was filed in 2015, they had moved to the Dallas, Texas area where he had accepted a new job.

“He's a civil engineer with zero criminal record and zero involvement in any radical groups,” Mr. Klucas said.

Under federal law, there is a presumption for pre-trial incarceration for defendants facing certain charges, including the terrorism-related offenses for which the men are charged.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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