By EMAUN KASHFIPOUR
ANNAPOLIS (October 21, 2011)—A Maryland teen has been indicted on charges that he conspired to provide material support to terrorists.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a Pakistani immigrant who recently turned 18, was arrested July 6 in Ellicott City and could face 15 years in prison if convicted.
He is accused of conspiring with Ali Charaf Damache, an Algerian man residing in Ireland, and Colleen R. LaRose, an American Muslim convert from Pennsylvania who called herself "Jihad Jane" and pleaded guilty in February to multiple terrorism-related charges.
The indictment alleges that the conspirators were involved in recruiting and supporting terrorists in the United States, Europe and South Asia. Khalid's lawyer, Jeffrey M. Lindy, said he's very disappointed by the accusations.
"He's just turned 18 and the government is accusing him of committing the crime when he was 15," he said. "This is the American dream basically turned into a nightmare."
Lindy said Khalid was an honors student at his high school and was offered a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University this fall, which he lost after his arrest in July. Officials at Johns Hopkins could not be reached late Thursday.
Khalid is currently in custody in Pennsylvania.
Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said in a press release that Khalid's age highlights the need for vigilance.
"This case demonstrates that we must remain vigilant within our communities to make sure that we bring to justice those terrorists, of any age or background, who seek to do great harm to our citizens," he said, in the statement.
The indictment accuses Khalid, Damache, and others of coordinating a violent jihad organization consisting of many men and women from the United States and Europe who were divided into multiple teams, including recruitment and finance. Some members of the organization would travel to South Asia for explosives training and return to Europe.
The indictment also accuses them of using the Internet to recruit members to wage violent jihad and to solicit funds online for terrorists. They recruited members who could travel freely in Europe.
"This investigation highlights the diverse threat environment we face today," said FBI Assistant Director Mark Giuliano, in a statement. "As revealed in this case, individuals used the Internet to further radicalization and to contribute to the radicalization of others."
Khalid sometimes used the online username "Abdul Ba'aree 'Abd Al-Rahman Al-Hassan Al-Afghani Al-Junoobi W'at Emiratee" in his communications with Damache and LaRose.