Source Pravda.Ru

Two California men suspected of links to al-Qaida

Federal authorities have arrested two California men on charges of lying to federal agents, and news reports said they are suspected of having links to al-Qaida.

Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, of Lodi, were arrested over the weekend and both made a brief appearance in U.S. District Court in Sacramento on Tuesday, FBI agent John Cauthen told The Associated Press. The men, who are both U.S. citizens, are being held in the Sacramento County Jail.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Hamid Hayat is accused of training in an al-Qaida camp in Pakistan to learn "how to kill Americans," the Los Angeles Times and Bee both reported.

Umer Hayat is charged in the complaint with lying about his son's involvement in the terror camp. His attorney, Johnny Griffin III, called the allegations "shocking" but said his client so far has been "charged with nothing more than lying to an agent," the Bee reported.

Griffin's request for bail was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter A. Nowinski, who called Umer Hayat "a flight risk and a danger to the community."

"He just returned from Pakistan where he built a new home and contributed financial assistance to an al-Qaida sponsored program training his son and others to kill Americans whenever and wherever they can be found," Nowinski said, according to the Bee.

Hamid Hayat's attorney was not present for the court hearing, and Nowinski set a bail hearing for Friday.

The younger Hayat is accused of training to use explosives and other weapons while using photographs of U.S. President George W. Bush as practice targets, according to the complaint. The Bee reported Hamid Hayat is 22, while the Los Angeles Times said he is 23.

Hamid Hayat, who was born in California, recently returned to the state from Pakistan. After first denying any link to terrorist camps, Hayat reportedly told agents that he attended al-Qaida camps in 2003 and 2004.

"Hamid advised that he specifically requested to come to the United States to carry out his jihadi mission," the affidavit said. "Potential targets for attack would include hospitals and large food stores."

FBI agents raided the Hayat home on Tuesday, family members told the Times, seizing videocassettes, photographs, fax machines, prayer books and other items.

Hamid Hayat was on the "no fly" list and FBI authorities in Sacramento were alerted by headquarters on May 29 that he was attempting to fly from South Korea to San Francisco, the newspapers reported.

The plane was diverted to Japan, where Hayat was interviewed by the FBI and denied any connection to terrorism before being allowed to fly back to California.

On June 3, he was interviewed by agents in Sacramento and denied attending any terrorist camps. After a polygraph test the next day showed deception in his answers, Hayat acknowledged spending six months in 2003-04 at a training camp in Pakistan, the affidavit said.

Umer Hayat also at first denied that his son went to a terrorist camp but later admitted that he provided a $100 monthly allowance to help his son attend the camp, according to the affidavit.

Two other Lodi men, Shabbir Ahmed and Mohammed Adil Khan, were detained on immigration violations, the FBI's Cauthen said. He said he couldn't give any further details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Ahmed is the current imam and Khan is the former imam of a mosque in Lodi, the Lodi News-Sentinel reported on its Web site. The men were detained after meeting separately with Umer Hayat on Saturday, The Sacramento Bee reported on its Web site Tuesday night.

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