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Published: Friday, 9/22/2006

Attorneys request bond for 1 of 3 terror suspects

BY MIKE WILKINSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
El-Hindi El-Hindi
AP Enlarge

Terrorist suspect Marwan Othman El-Hindi is a teetotaling Muslim family man who has aided government investigations in the past and deserves to be freed on bond while he awaits trial, his attorneys asserted yesterday.

First arrested in February with two other Toledo area men and now awaiting trial at the federal prison in Milan, Mich., Mr. El-Hindi helped convict his former employer for violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq and twice cooperated with authorities, his attorneys said.

They are asking U.S. District Judge James Carr in Toledo to consider releasing Mr. El-Hindi on $20,000 bond and they suggest his wife, Marwa Aboud, would supervise his release.

Attorney Steve Hartman questioned the evidence against his client and said his history and ties to Toledo - he has seven children and has operated a business here - warrant bond.

"Keep in mind it's just an accusation and he enjoys a presumption of innocence like everyone else does," Mr. Hartman said. His background, he said, "does not indicate he's a threat or a flight risk."

The U.S. Attorney's office in Cleveland could not be reached for comment. It will have the opportunity to respond to the request.

Mr. El-Hindi of Toledo was charged with conspiring to kill or injure people in the Middle East - including U.S. troops serving in Iraq - and with providing the "support and resources" to do so. He faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.

He was charged along with Toledoan Mohammad Zaki Amawi, 26, and Wassim I. Mazloum, 24, of Sylvania. Mr. Amawi was also charged with twice threatening President Bush and with distributing bomb-making information.

Mr. Mazloum and Mr. El-Hindi were arrested in the Toledo area while Mr. Amawi was detained in Jordan, where he had traveled with a government-paid informant.

Mr. Amawi has dual Jordanian and U.S. citizenship who was living in Toledo; Mr. El-Hindi is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Jordan and was living in Toledo, and Mr. Mazloum is from Lebanon but a legal permanent resident of the United States.

Mr. El-Hindi has operated several businesses and, just before his arrest, he helped recruit American students to attend medical schools abroad.

In their motion seeking bond, Mr. El-Hindi's attorneys argue that he has "always fully and completely cooperated with law enforcement." They cite his help in several cases and confirmed one involved a New York doctor.

Mr. El-Hindi once managed a Chicago travel agency owned by Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a Syracuse, N.Y., doctor who was convicted for illegally sending funds to Iraq and for Medicare fraud. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

When first contacted by federal agents in February, Mr. El-Hindi waived his Miranda rights and talked openly with agents, the attorneys said.

"He is a man who has nothing to hide, and he has always acted accordingly with law enforcement," the motion states.



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