Terrorism Suspect’s Indictment Unsealed

Mar 21, 2013 Issues: Counterterrorism

CQ -- By CQ Staff

Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Wednesday for a Saudi Arabian-born man charged with conspiracy to murder American troops in Afghanistan, bomb U.S. diplomatic facilities in Nigeria and provide material support to al-Qaida.

The charges against Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, who claims citizenship in Niger and has been held in U.S. custody since his extradition from Italy in October, stem from his alleged activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa over the past 12 years.

Federal prosecutors say Harun, also known as “Spin Ghul” among other names, traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan in 2001, where he received “military-type” training at an al-Qaida camp, and later fought against U.S. and coalition forces.

According to the indictment, he tried to kill military personnel in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003, then went to Nigeria, where he conspired to detonate “explosives or other lethal devices” at U.S. consular sites between August 2003 and January 2005.

The U.S. attorney’s office said Harun then traveled to Libya with the intent to continue on to Europe, but was apprehended in 2005 and was in Libyan custody until 2011, when he was released, but later arrested by Italian authorities after assaulting officers while on an Italy-bound refugee ship.

The indictment alleged that he spent nearly a decade providing explosives, personnel, false documentation and IDs to al-Qaida while at the same time possessing firearms — at least one of which was a machine gun — with the intent to commit violent crimes.

Harun was secretly indicted on six terrorism-related charges Oct. 5 in a federal court in Brooklyn. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“The indictment unsealed today seeks to hold accountable an alleged al Qaeda operative who targeted U.S. personnel and diplomatic facilities across two continents,” said acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin in a written statement. “His arrest and extradition to the United States are important milestones in our ongoing counterterrorism efforts.”

House Armed Services ranking Democrat Adam Smith of Washington hailed the announcement and said he was pleased to see the case was handled through the civilian justice system.

“I am pleased to see that the administration continues to use one our most effective tools to bring terrorists to justice — the federal court system,” he said in a written statement. “While some claim we should shy away from using a court system that has been a model for the world for more than 200 years, I believe — and the administration has demonstrated that it believes — that we should embrace it.”

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, also lauded Harun’s capture.

“This terrorist plotted to murder American soldiers in Afghanistan and American diplomats in Nigeria and has been on the run for years,” he said. “Spin Ghul should receive swift justice commensurate with his crimes, and I hope that his prosecution leads to the apprehension of more of his co-conspirators who target our men and women abroad as well as our homeland.”