09/16/2005

Two Fla. terrorism suspects ordered kept in solitary to avoid spread of extremism

By CURT ANDERSON
Associated Press Writer

MIAMI- Two men awaiting trial on charges of recruiting soldiers for worldwide radical Islamic holy war were ordered Friday to remain in solitary confinement after prosecutors said they could continue spreading Muslim extremism if allowed into the regular jail population.

"It would be a combustible, risky situation to put these individuals into the general population," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Frazier. "That facility is full of young, angry, disaffected young men."

U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke denied motions by Adhan Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi to be moved out of the special housing unit at Miami's downtown federal detention center. But Cooke also said she will insist that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons provide them with greater access to their lawyers to prepare for what will be a lengthy, complex trial in fall 2006.

"I have to say this case raises a lot of concerns," Cooke said. "I'm going to hold the government's feet to the fire to make sure these things happen."

Hassoun, a Lebanese-born Palestinian, and Jayyousi, a Jordanian who has U.S. citizenship, are accused of raising money and recruiting operatives beginning in 1993 to fight for radical Islamic causes in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Somalia and elsewhere. Much of the government's case is based on some 50,000 telephone wire intercepts dating back a decade or more.

Among their alleged recruits was Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who converted to Islam and allegedly plotted with top al-Qaida commanders to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city. Padilla, whose plot never materialized, was designated an enemy combatant by President Bush and is being held without criminal charge in Virginia.

Lawyers for Hassoun and Jayyousi argued that they should not be held in restrictive solitary confinement based solely on the charges against them, which have not been proven in court. The Miami detention center's special housing unit holds up to 90 inmates at a given time, including Colombian drug kingpins and inmates who have violated prison rules.

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