Suspected terrorist pleads guilty to threatening Dearborn attorney
Feb 28, 2013 (Detroit Free Press - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A suspected terrorist in Ireland pleaded guilty Wednesday to threatening a Dearborn attorney over the phone because he held an anti-terrorism rally in Detroit. And he's now to be extradited to the U.S. to face separate terrorism charges.
Ali Charaf Damache, a native of Algeria who lived in Ireland for several years, admitted to calling Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni in January 2010 after Moughni held an anti-terrorism rally outside the federal courthouse in Detroit during a hearing for the underwear bomber. Moughni, who is Muslim, wanted to send a message that Islam is against terrorism.
"I would put a bullet in your head ... when I catch you, you will pay," Damache told Moughni over the phone, according to a recording of the call. Moughni had testified via video conference from Detroit earlier in the trial, and was glad to hear of the guilty plea.
"I'm pretty relieved," Moughni said. "We shouldn't be afraid of those who try to silence people who stand up for freedom."
After Damache pleaded guilty in Ireland, the judge sentenced him to four years, but suspended one year and released him because of time served, according to Moughni and Irish media reports.
Immediately after Damache left the courtroom, police arrested him again and now plan to extradite him to the U.S. to face charges he was part of international terror plots, including a plan to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew a negative image of Islam's prophet.
"As soon as he walked out of the courtroom, the Irish police were waiting for him and escorted him away," said Moughni, who spoke with police detectives about the guilty plea. "He will be extradited to the United States."
Damache was charged with making a phone threat and with threatening to kill Moughni, but the latter, more serious charge was dropped because police had conducted a search warrant of a car that a court ruled was improper. The guilty plea was for the phone threat.
In a separate, case, prosecutors say that Damache worked with Colleen LaRose, a woman originally from Romulus who converted to Islam and was known as Jihad Jane. LaRose pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in 2011 and awaits sentencing.
Moughni said he's glad he held the anti-terror rally after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called underwear bomber, attempted to blow up an airplane descending into Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. In the threatening phone call, Damache told Moughni he was betraying Islam; Moughni said he was defending Islam by organizing the anti-terror rally.
"We stood up on the side of right," Moughni said. "We stood up for other Americans by protesting against terrorism. We sent a clear message: that most Muslim-Americans are against terror."
Contact Niraj Warikoo: email@example.com or 313-223-4792
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