FBI Tests Show Sheik's Luggage Had No Explosive Residue, Lawyer Says; Will Seek Bail or Hearing
By Andrew Kramer Associated Press Writer
Published: Sep 23, 2002
* Today's Mortgage Rates
* Online Mortgage Calculators
* Free Online Pre-approval
* Apply Online
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Tests that found explosive residue on the bags of a Muslim cleric arrested at Portland's airport on document fraud charges have been thrown out after they were reviewed at an FBI crime lab, the man's lawyer said.
Stanley Cohen, a New York civil rights attorney who took the case of Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, said the FBI tests showed the bags were free of explosives residues.
"I'm talking to the government about a bail package," Cohen said Saturday. If that doesn't happen, he said, the defense would request another detention hearing.
Kariye, who served as an imam at the Islamic Center in Portland, was arrested Sept. 8 as he tried to board a flight at Portland International Airport to the United Arab Emirates with his brother and four children.
Kariye, 41, is accused of using false information - including a changed name - while applying for and receiving three different Social Security cards between 1983 and 1995. The federal indictment also alleges Kariye used an altered birth date in a 1998 asylum application.
He has pleaded innocent to felony charges of unlawful use of a Social Security number and unlawful possession of a U.S. government document. He was ordered held without bail. A trial is scheduled for Nov. 5....Robert Ramos, a senior inspector for the U.S. Customs Service, testified that two bags carried by Kariye's party tested positive for explosives residue. Out of hundreds of bags he had tested, Ramos said Kariye's was the first to test positive for explosives.
Cohen, who took Kariye's case over the weekend, said the FBI sent a letter explaining the negative test results to the U.S. attorney's office Wednesday and was then forwarded to the judge.
Police have not said they suspect Kariye of terror-related offenses, other than to say that he was detained by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kariye's supporters question why the task force was even involved, because Kariye has been charged only with Social Security fraud."