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2 Charged With Terror Recruiting

Two men were charged Thursday with providing financial support to terrorists and recruiting members for terror groups around the globe.

A 10-count grand jury indictment handed up in Miami charges Adgan Amin Hassoun and Mohamed Hesham Youssef with providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to provide support. Hassoun has been in custody on other charges in Florida since June 2003 and Youssef is jailed in Egypt.

The indictment contends that Hassoun helped recruit individuals from the United States for groups engaging in Islamic "jihad," or holy war, in several countries.

Although he is not named in the indictment, two federal law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity identified one such individual as Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and alleged al Qaeda member accused of plotting attacks in the United States. Padilla is being held in the United States as an enemy combatant.

The charges say that Hassoun wrote a series of checks over several years to a number of organizations, including Muslim charities such as the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, that prosecutors say was intended to finance terrorist activities.

"This indictment alleges that an individual living here in the United States, enjoying all the freedoms that our society has to offer, was secretly plotting to support murder and terror being perpetrated by violent jihadists overseas," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement.

Hassoun had already been charged with lying to federal agents about his activities, including use of coded language in discussing terrorist plans with Youssef and others. He is also charged with illegal possession of a 9mm pistol.

Hassoun and Youssef each face maximum penalties of 15 years on the material support and conspiracy charges. Hassoun also faces additional prison time on the other charges.

The FBI arrested Padilla in May 2002 as he returned from a trip to Pakistan.

The Brooklyn-born suspect initially was held as a material witness in the investigation following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks. Within days the government designated him an enemy combatant and he was moved to the brig near here and prevented from challenging his detention.

The U.S. administration considers some terror suspects enemy combatants and says they could be held indefinitely without charge.

Attorneys for Padilla later sued and, last December, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City ordered him released from military custody within a month unless the government chose to charge him. That ruling was suspended until the Supreme Court considered the case.

The high court ruled on June 28 that the Padilla case had been brought in the wrong court. His lawyers soon refilled the case.

The justices did not address the broader question of whether President Bush had congressional authority to designate Padilla an enemy combatant or whether indefinite detention without charges or trial violated his constitutional rights.

In a related case, the Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Bush had the right to imprison another enemy combatant, Yaser Hamdi, but that Hamdi had the right to counsel and to challenge his detention in court.

Padilla, described by authorities as a former Chicago gang member, is being held amid allegations he sought to detonate a "dirty bomb" and blow up apartment buildings in the United States.

The government said he proposed the idea to a top al Qaeda terrorism coordinator who has since been arrested in Pakistan.

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