Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Plot To Assassinate The President

An American man who spent 20 months in a Saudi jail on suspicion of terrorism has been charged with conspiring to kill the US President, George Bush, in an alleged al-Qaeda plot. According to the indictment, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, conspired with al-Qaeda members in Saudi Arabia to carry out the assassination, either by getting "close enough to the President to shoot him on the street" or with a car bomb. The US lawyer leading the prosecution, Paul McNulty, said Ali had "turned his back on America" and "now stands charged with some of the most serious offences our nation can bring against supporters of terrorism". The indictment does not say what evidence the prosecution has against Ali, other than the FBI's discovery of al-Qaeda literature, gun magazines and general information about surveillance and counter-surveillance at his home in Falls Church, a Washington suburb. The charges brought to the US District Court in Washington on Tuesday provoked laughter from more than a hundred of Ali's supporters, and were later rejected by his father, Omar, who said they had been "cooked". One of his lawyers, Ashraf Nubani, said his client had been tortured while in a Saudi prison. "He has the evidence on his back. He was whipped," the Associated Press quoted Mr Nubani as telling the court. Ali, who was born in Texas and came top of his high school class in Virginia, was picked up by the Saudi authorities in Medina in June 2003, a month after a wave of al-Qaeda bomb attacks against residential compounds for foreigners in Riyadh. His family and supporters mounted a lawsuit last July demanding he be released or charged. They claimed his arrest had been initiated by the US and that the US was keeping him in Saudi Arabia "to avoid constitutional scrutiny by US courts". The lawsuit triggered a court battle with the Administration over its use of secret evidence against Ali. Under legal pressure, the US State Department presented a formal request to the Saudi Government last month either to charge Ali, or allow him to be brought back to the US.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali
A.K.A. Lil' Punk