Competency Evaluation Ordered for Suspect in Mall Plot



A federal magistrate on Wednesday ordered a man charged
with plotting to blow up a shopping mall to be transferred to a federal
psychiatric facility to determine if he is mentally competent.

The evidence Magistrate Mark Abel used to determine why Nuradin Abdi should
be sent to the facility has been sealed.

Authorities have accused Abdi, 32, of plotting to blow up a mall with
admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris, who is now imprisoned for
never-acted-on plans to sabotage the Brooklyn Bridge.

The indictment against Abdi, a Somali national, was unsealed on Monday.

More than 100 supporters gathered outside the courthouse, and family and
friends planned to talk to reporters about the charges against Abdi after
the detention hearing.

Authorities have a third suspect under surveillance and are trying to
determine how many others might have been involved, U.S. Attorney Gregory
Lockhart said.

"I don't know that we know at this point know who all the people he (Abdi)
was associated with are," Lockhart said. "There are people that we are
proactively doing things with as we speak that are short of charging them."

The Joint Terrorism Task Force searched the Columbus apartment last week of
the third suspect, The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday, citing
unidentified federal sources. The man shared the apartment with Faris, the
newspaper said. Federal officials have refused to say what they were seeking.

Abdi is charged with providing material support to al-Qaida, conspiracy and
document fraud. If convicted, he could get up to 80 years in prison.

"What we know about him is unlike how he is portrayed," said Ahmad
Al-Akhras, president of the Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations.

The group's leaders questioned the evidence and the timing of the
announcement of charges against Abdi, noting that the FBI has dropped
charges accusing others of terrorism..

 


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