Prosecutors: Terror Suspect Was on "Suicide Mission"

Sohiel Omar Kabir was captured Nov. 17 by U.S. special forces in Kabul

By Jason Kandel and Jacob Rascon
|  Tuesday, Dec 11, 2012  |  Updated 6:37 PM PDT
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Terror Plot: Bail Denied for Riverside Man

Sohiel Omar Kabir as rendered by a sketch artist, appears in a detention hearing in a federal courtroom in Riverside on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. He's accused of leading several others in a holy war against U.S. targets overseas.

Documents

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday revealed evidence in court against a one-time Pomona resident accused of attempting to lead a "suicide mission" to wage a holy war against American targets overseas.

At a detention hearing in a federal courtroom in Riverside, prosecutors said they had evidence against Sohiel Omar Kabir and his alleged co-conspirators that includes statements recorded by an undercover informant by wire and a video recording of a link to a bombing attack of a U.S. military base.

Kabir hardly moved or said anything during his court hearing Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors said audio recordings are of Kabir making travel arrangements to Afghanistan as recently as October and November with a second suspect, Miguel Alejandro Santana Vidriales, 21. The two allegedly talked about about a suicide mission, joining the Taliban and then graduating to al Qaeda.

He allegedly said he was on a "suicide mission" and he planned to use the explosive C-4, prosecutors said in court. His attorney, Jeffrey Aaron, said after court that there is no evidence that his client was on a suicide mission.

Prosecutors said the video is of Kabir's Facebook page, which included what they said were "extreme postings," including a video of the bombing of a military base in Afghanistan.

A the hearing, the judge denied bail and ordered Kabir detained.

The same judge earlier had denied bail to three other terror suspects. Prosecutors successfully argued that he was serious flight risk because he had family and connections to terrorists abroad and because he has prior military training.

The hearing occurred as Kabir's attorney is questioning authorities' handling of his client. Kabir had injuries to his face and head when he was turned over to the FBI by U.S. military officials in Afghanistan.

Aaron said he had a fractured orbital socket and staples in his head when he arrived in California last week.

“He was injured and he’s got memory loss," said Aaron, adding he's investigating what happened and why he wasn't hospitalized. "He’s epileptic. He’s got a number of health problems. So he’s having a difficult time of it."

Kabir, 34, was captured Nov. 17 by U.S. special forces in Kabul, where he was staying with family members, and held for two weeks by the military before being turned over to the FBI.

FBI spokesman Laura Eimiller said Kabir suffered "combat-related injuries" during his capture.

In court on Tuesday, prosecutors said Kabir was "extremely combative" when special forces tried to take him into custody. He "attempted to strike" the soldiers and "grab their grenades" and other weapons, they said.

The injuries were treated by American medical personnel and he was cleared to be taken back to the U.S.

Kabir, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is the suspected ringleader of a plot to kill Americans and bomb military bases overseas.

He and three other defendants — Ralph Deleon and Arifeen Gojail, both 21, and Vidriales — have pleaded not guilty.

Deleon, Vidriales and Gojali were arrested as they waited to board a plane headed for Istanbul on their way to Afghanistan to meet with Kabir, authorities said. In video calls from Afghanistan, Kabir told the trio he would arrange meetings with terrorists, investigators said.

The group prepared for their trip to the Middle East by simulating combat with paintball rifles and concocting cover stories, court documents state.

Authorities don't believe there were any plans for an attack in the U.S., but Deleon and Vidriales told a confidential FBI informant they would consider American jihad, according to an FBI affidavit.

The case against Kabir is based on hearsay statements from co-defendants and an FBI informant, Aaron said, adding that federal prosecutors have turned over few documents since the arrest.

If convicted, each of the four defendants could face up to 15 years in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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