US teen plans guilty plea in terror case
Philadelphia: A Pakistan-born teenager
accused of helping a terror cell based in Ireland will plead
guilty to a US terrorism charge, according to court papers.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid became a rare juvenile suspect held
in FBI custody after his arrest last summer, when he was a
17-year-old high school student in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Khalid had met a Pennsylvania woman who called herself
Jihad Jane in an online chat room when he was 15 and had
agreed to help her seek money and recruits to wage a Muslim
holy war in Europe and South Asia, authorities said.
The woman, Colleen LaRose, admitted last March that she
had plotted to kill a Swedish artist who had offended Muslims.
LaRose, 48, faces a sentence of life in prison. She is not
just a homegrown terrorist but a rare female one.
Khalid was arrested in July. He first appeared in open
court in October, after he turned 18 and was indicted on a
charge of aiding terrorism. He has pleaded not guilty to the
charge, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence.
Defence lawyer Jeffrey Lindy declined to comment on the
scheduled April 2 change-of-plea hearing. He previously said
that he believes LaRose helped the FBI build its case against
Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Williams did not
immediately return a message yesterday from The Associated
Khalid and his family are legal immigrants from Pakistan.
He could be deported if convicted.
Teachers at Mount Hebron High School said they remember
Khalid, a 2011 graduate, for his strong work ethic.
Khalid had been offered a full scholarship to prestigious
Johns Hopkins University. But in a secret life online, he
pledged to forward money to LaRose for her to pass on to the
jihadists, or holy warriors, and hid a passport she sent him,
LaRose, of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania, was being watched by
the FBI after posting online videos in which she vowed to kill
or die for the jihadist cause. She moved to Ireland in late
2009 but returned voluntarily to surrender to US authorities.
Khalid was indicted along with Ali Charaf Damache, an
Irish citizen from Algeria who married another American woman,
Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, of Colorado, after she moved to
Waterford, Ireland, to meet him.
Paulin-Ramirez, 33, pleaded guilty last year to providing
material support to terrorists, the charge now facing Khalid.