Nov 3, 2014 1:36 PM
2 siblings also arrested in Islamic State case
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) The younger siblings of a suburban Chicago man charged with seeking to join Islamic State militants in Syria were arrested with their brother last month at O'Hare International Airport, federal prosecutors said during a hearing Monday.
Mohammed Hamzah Khan's siblings were arrested along with the 19-year-old on Oct. 4 but not charged, prosecutors said at Khan's detention hearing. It was the first time that detail had come out. Attorneys didn't name the siblings, who are ages 16 and 17.
Prosecutor Richard Hiller said Khan and his siblings made clear that they planned to engage in violence if they got to Syria. They "not only had barbaric rhetoric ... they tried to carry it out," Hiller said.
Hiller told the judge that Khan didn't act on youthful impulse, but instead planned for months for the journey to Syria, including getting a job at a retail store to raise money to purchase plane tickets for himself and his siblings.
"He tried to take his high school-aged siblings halfway around the world to a war zone," Hiller said, portraying Khan as the main instigator of the plan.
Khan is charged with seeking to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, which carries a maximum 15-year prison sentence. He left a letter expressing disgust with Western society before trying to board a flight to Turkey, the first step in his plan to sneak into Syria to join the Islamic State group, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Khan, an American, lived with his parents in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook. His attorney, Thomas Durkin, has said prosecutors don't have the evidence to prove Khan actually sought to provide material support to Islamic State militants.
A federal judge on Friday denied a government request to partially close Monday's detention hearing. Federal prosecutors had argued the need to protect the identity of two minors who they intended to bring up at the hearing. Durkin heralded the judge's decision.