Egyptian student pleads not guilty in US explosives case

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

TAMPA, Florida: An Egyptian university student accused of making an Internet video demonstrating how to make an explosives detonator pleaded not guilty to federal charges Wednesday.

An attorney for engineering student Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamed, who has been suspended from the University of South Florida, entered a written plea of not guilty for his client. He was scheduled for arraignment Thursday.

Mohamed, 24, will remain jailed on federal charges of distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction.

He also faces additional charges with another Egyptian student, Youssef Samir Megahed, 21, of carrying explosive materials across state lines.

The two were arrested during an Aug. 5 traffic stop in Goose Creek, South Carolina, about 24 km northwest of Charleston. In the trunk of the 2000 Toyota Camry, according an FBI agent s statement, police found 6 meters of fuse, a box of .22-caliber bullets, a drill, several gallons of gasoline, PVC piping and gun powder.

On Mohamed s laptop, according to the FBI agent s statement, was a video he made demonstrating how to convert a remote-control toy into a detonator for explosives.

Mohamed told authorities he made the video to assist those persons in Arabic countries to defend themselves against the infidels invading their countries, according to the agent s statement.

Mohamed said he considered American troops, and those military forces fighting with the American military, to be invaders of Arab countries, the statement said.

The video was uploaded on YouTube, according to court documents, but it was not clear whether it was ever publicly viewed.

Mohamed is being represented by locally prominent defense attorney John Fitzgibbons, who was hired for him by the Egyptian government. Fitzgibbons, best known for representing teacher Debra Lafave after she had sex with a middle-school student, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Megahed, represented by a federal public defender, pleaded not guilty earlier this month. A judge s decision is pending on whether he should be freed on bond.

A trial is set for December. If convicted, Mohamed could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison. Megahed faces up to 10 years. Associated Press

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