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Abdella Ahmed Tounisi, Ill. terror suspect, to remain in custody after prosecutors challenge judge's release order

Abdella Ahmed Tounisi, 18, is accused of trying to join an overseas terror group.
Family handout via CBS Chicago
(CBS) CHICAGO - Abdella Ahmed Tounisi, an Aurora, Ill. man accused of trying to join an overseas terror group, will remain in federal custody after prosecutors challenged a judge's ruling to release the suspect to home confinement, CBS Chicago reports.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin originally agreed Thursday to release the 18-year-old Tounisi to home confinement, on $50,000 unsecured bond. But on Friday, federal prosecutors challenged the judge's ruling and prevailed before U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang, who agreed with prosecutors that Tounisi posed a danger and was a flight risk.

Tounisi was arrested by the FBI in April as he tried to board an international flight at O'Hare Airport to allegedly travel to Syria to join a militant jihad group. Federal authorities say Tounisi had been communicating with a federal agent who was posing as a recruiter online.

Thursday's release order, which was a rare move for a terror case, was stayed for 24 hours to give prosecutors time to decide whether to appeal the ruling. Tounisi was not released from custody.

The government says, according to CBS Chicago, Tounisi was about to link up with terrorists and eventually planned to blow up a nightclub in Naperville, Ill.

Tounisi's lawyer noted he has no prior criminal record. But prosecutors' 16-page filing says that's irrelevant.

It says Tounisi has expressed a wish to die a martyr and that a terrorist crime typically "may only be committed once."

"People very young can do terrible things," one prosecutor reportedly told the judge at Thursday's hearing.

Tounisi is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorism.

  • Crimesider Staff

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