By Nigel Duara Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — A Portland man arrested on charges of aiding a deadly terror attack in Pakistan can be released pending his trial, a U.S. judge ruled Wednesday.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, was arrested at his home Tuesday on charges of providing support to a suicide bomber who participated in the 2009 attack that killed about 30 people and injured another 300.
Khan, a wastewater treatment plant operator for the city of Portland, has pleaded not guilty.
On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said the charge against Khan, which carries the possibility of a life sentence, along with Khan’s connections in Pakistan, make him more likely to flee after being charged.
“There are no conditions that can assure his appearance,” Knight said. “This defendant has significant ties overseas. (Surrendering his passport) does not eliminate his risk of flight.”
But Khan’s attorney, Amy Baggio, said Khan has been a good employee of the city who has gone along with the investigation despite knowing that he could be charged.
“He didn’t run away when he heard this was happening,” Baggio said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak ruled that conditions could be placed that ensure Khan would not flee. Papak’s decision was affirmed later Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Michael Mossman.
Mossman ruled that Khan could be released Thursday after a follow-up hearing. Mossman said he wanted to ensure that Khan’s assets were frozen and that his computer activity was monitored.
Mossman noted the time between the most recent alleged criminal action — 2009 — and the indictment, and said Khan could have fled.
“He knew it at a time when he had lawyers, he knew it at a time when he had passports, and he knew it at a time when he had cash,” Mossman said, “but he didn’t flee.”
Slender, with a black-and-white beard several inches long, Khan appeared in court in a blue jail uniform looking haggard and tired.
An indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges the naturalized U.S. citizen provided advice and financial help to Ali Jaleel, one of three people who carried out the attack at Pakistan’s intelligence headquarters in Lahore.
Jaleel died in the attack. He took responsibility for the bombing in a video released by al-Qaida and was shown at a training camp, federal officials say.
According to the indictment, Khan conspired with Jaleel and others starting in December 2005.
Jaleel allegedly emailed Khan in 2008 about his plan to travel to Pakistan. Two years earlier, Jaleel had been part of a small group from the Maldives that tried to enter Pakistan for training, but he was detained, returned home and placed under house arrest.
The indictment alleges that Kahn instructed Jaleel on how to avoid detection and offered to help with financial arrangements.
In October 2008, Jaleel wrote that he needed $2,500. According to the indictment, Khan contacted someone in Los Angeles who arranged to have the money waiting for Jaleel in Karachi, Pakistan.
Jaleel wrote to Khan the following month, saying he was about to enter a training camp and did not need all the money. Khan allegedly told Jaleel to keep the money so it could be sent to Jaleel’s two wives in the Maldives.
Shortly after the suicide attack, Khan wired almost $750 from an Oregon store to one of Jaleel’s wives, the indictment states.
Khan has lived in the U.S. since 1988, when he began a master’s degree program in New Jersey. After he graduated in 1991, Khan moved briefly to Dallas and then Fullerton, Calif.
He lived in California from 1991 until 2004 or 2005, when he moved to Vancouver, Wash., and finally settled in Portland in 2006.