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Judge agrees to release man held over 2 years in terror case

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    Federal District Court in downtown Toledo.

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    Asif Salim

Despite opposition by federal prosecutors, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey Helmick has agreed to release from the Lucas County jail a man charged with supporting terrorism.

Judge Helmick granted a motion for release for Asif Ahmed Salim, 37, who has been in custody for more than two years awaiting trial. The judge gave prosecutors until Friday to appeal his decision. Judge Jack Zouhary, who had been assigned to the case, previously denied two motions for Mr. Salim's release.

ASIF-A-SALIM

Asif Salim

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Mr. Salim and two codefendants — his brother, Sultane Roome Salim, 43, and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 38 — are scheduled to go to trial April 16 in federal court in Toledo. They are accused of raising and delivering $22,000 to Yemen in 2009 for Anwar al-Awlaki, who was later designated a terrorist then killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Under the terms of his release, Asif Salim would live with his mother, Shakila Salim, at her home in Cambridge, Ohio, where his brother has been staying since his release on a $500,000 property bond in November, 2015. Asif Salim also must post a $500,000 property bond prior to his release.

In a motion for his release, defense attorney Linda Moreno told the court Asif Salim was born in Ohio, had no prior criminal record, and had been a model inmate at the jail. He was living in the United Arab Emirates at the time of his arrest in 2015, the motion states, but he did not challenge deportation to the United States to face the charges.

Last year, Mr. Mohammad renewed his request for pretrial release, and a hearing was held Nov. 8. Still, Judge Helmick has not ruled on that motion, said attorney Dave Klucas, who represents Mr. Mohammad.

A fourth co-defendant, Mr. Mohammad's brother, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists as well as solicitation to commit a crime of violence for a separate case in which he tried to hire a hitman to kill Judge Zouhary. He was sentenced to 27½ years in prison and ordered deported to India once he completes his prison term.

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

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