A federal grand jury indicted a Saudi-born man accused of being a member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who from 2002 to 2005 conspired to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan and attack U.S. State Department staff in Nigeria. The indictment against Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, also known as "Spin Ghul," was unsealed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York.
Although born in Saudi Arabia the 43-year-old Harun claims he's a citizen of Nigeria, according to a Justice Department statement.
The accused terrorist was extradited from Italy to the United States on Oct. 4, 2012, and arraigned in a sealed proceeding in federal court in Brooklyn on Oct. 5, 2012. The case is scheduled for a public status conference before U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman on March 22, 2013.
But several law enforcement and counterterrorism officials aren't happy about Harun being brought to New York. "Why aren't these terrorists who are charged with attacks against the U.S. military not being brought to Gitmo (Guantanamo Bay detention center). Have interrogators had the opportunity to question this veteran terrorist before he was given his Miranda warnings especially telling Harun he has the right to remain silent?" asked former police detective and intelligence officer Michael Snopes. "The answer is no!" he added.
Harun is charged with his alleged terrorist activities as part of al-Qaeda starting in 2001. According to the indictment and other court documents, beginning in 2001, the defendant traveled from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan with the intent to fight violent jihad. He arrived in Afghanistan shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Harun received military-type training at al-Qaeda training camps, and ultimately fought against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda terrorists who were based in Pakistan.
According to the indictment, Harun allegedly attempted to kill U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2003. In 2003, in Pakistan, Harun received further al-Qaeda training and traveled to North Africa with the intent to conduct attacks on American diplomatic facilities in Nigeria. While in Nigeria, Harun allegedly conspired with others to bomb such facilities.
According to the indictment and other documents, after the arrest of his co-conspirator, Harun fled to Libya, en route to Europe, but was apprehended in early 2005. The defendant then remained in Libyan custody until June 2011, when he was released by the Libyan government. He was then arrested by Italian authorities after assaulting officers on board a refugee ship bound for Italy.
On July 5, 2012, the Naples Court of Appeals found the defendant extraditable to face the charges in the indictment pending against him in U.S. federal court, pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and Italy. On Sept. 14, 2012, the Italian Minister of Justice ordered the defendant extradited. Federal agents took the defendant into custody in Italy on Oct. 4, 2012, and he arrived in the United States on that same day.
If convicted of all the charges in the indictment, Harun faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “As more al Qaeda operatives continue to be flushed from hiding, the NYPD remains vigilant to the fact that terrorists have repeatedly since 9/11 plotted to kill more Americans. We are determined not to let that happen. I want to commend our federal partners and the U.S. Attorney in the prosecution of this important case.”