Federal prosecutors will urge a judge Monday to hold behind bars two South Florida Muslim clerics while they await trial with other family members on charges of conspiring to send tens of thousands of dollars to Pakistani terrorists for arms and other militant resources.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Shipley is expected to assert that Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan, 76, imam of a Miami mosque, and son Izhar Khan, 24, imam of a Margate mosque, pose a danger to the community and might flee to their native Pakistan if they are granted bail.
Shipley has also indicated in court papers that he plans to base the prosecution’s conspiracy case on recorded telephone conversations between Hafiz Khan and others in Pakistan that were obtained under a special court warrant used frequently by the U.S. Justice Department in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Hafiz Khan’s attorney Khurrum Wahid, who has experience in terrorism cases, plans to fight his client’s pre-trial detention. He is being held in a solitary section known as the “special housing unit” at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami. Khan also plans to enter a not guilty plea.
“The concern so far is his health and working toward getting him released,” Wahid said last week outside the federal courthouse, noting that the elder Khan has problems with his eyesight, hearing, heart and cholesterol.
The son, Izhar, who must hire a private attorney after a magistrate judge rejected his request last week for a federal public defender because of his $3,000-a-month income and ownership of a North Lauderdale home, is also likely to challenge his pre-trial detention. He, too, is being held at the federal detention center.
The two spiritual leaders were arrested at their mosques on May 14 while a third son, Irfan Khan, 37, was arrested in Los Angeles and will be transferred to Miami. A fourth sibling, Amina Khan, her son, Alam Zeb, and a Pakistani national, Ali Rehman, were also charged and placed under house arrest last week by the Pakistani government.
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