Skip to comments.Megahed Stays In Jail As Judge Reviews Bail Arrangement (Goose Creek)
Posted on 10/08/2007 10:36:41 AM PDT by STARWISE
One of two Muslim USF students facing federal explosives charges continues to wait to be released on bond
By 970WFLA.com Friday, October 5, 2007
TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) A federal judge will take his time on ruling whether or not one of two Muslim University of South Florida students will be allowed out on bail while awaiting trial on charges he transported explosives across state lines without a license.
U.S. prosecutors filed appeal following a federal magistrate judge allowed Youseff Samir Megahed, 21, to be released on $200,000 bond.
Megahed and his alleged co-conspirator, Ahmed Mohamed, were arrested in a rural area outside Charleston, SC after deputies who pulled them over for speeding found what was learned to be pipe bombs, gasoline, explosives and fuse wire in their trunk. When they were pulled over, they were just down the road from a U.S. Navy Weapons Station known to house enemy combatants in its brig.
The case got the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice which then filed charges in the Middle District if Florida, encompassing Tampa Bay.
Part of that bail agreement mandates Megahed, an Egyptian national, surrender his passport and agree to wear a monitoring device. He would also be placed under house arrest at his familys Tampa Palms home, only allowed to leave to meet with his lawyers and for a daily one-hour visit to his mosque.
This is the same home where Megahed normally lives with his parents, brothers and sister. Theyre all permanent residents of U.S. and have spent more than ten years living in this country.
Mohamed is also an Egyptian national. He is in the U.S. on a student F-1 visa, granted by the State Department to those who clear all background checks. Hes being held without bond.
But U.S. attorneys argue that Megahed, is both a flight risk and a danger to the community. A stay of the bail ruling was ordered and Megahed remains in custody while another federal judge decides whether to uphold the ruling or find the government should have its way.
The government also alleges, Mohamed and Megahed, with Megaheds his older brother are in some way connected to Islamist terror groups, though no charges of aiding or abetting jihad groups and have been filed.
Yahia Megahed, Youseffs brother, was not part of this investigation, nor have any charges been filed for any crimes against him.
One reason why Megahed should be denied bail, say prosecutors, is that during the trip to South Carolina he made stops at Wal-Mart stores in Ocala and Jacksonville either inquiring about firearms or purchasing cleaning kits for firearms.
Defense lawyers asked the judge why these legal acts ought to be considered as an argument to deny bail.
Another reason, says prosecutors, is that Yahia Megahed was recorded on video at the jail where his brother is being held using some sort of coded language.
The video, played for the court, was from the jails visiting room which uses a webcam and telephone to allow inmates to see and hear their visitors.
The recording shows Yahia Megahed making facial gestures with his nose, eyes and mouth into the camera. That was followed by a series of hand gestures resembling sign language.
Prosecutors say this was supposed to be a message for his brother.
But Megaheds legal team, which is comprised of federal public defenders, pointed out that their client had not yet been brought to the computer where he could visit with his brother, and that Yahia was passing the time waiting by having fun with his own camera image which was viewable on his screen.
In fact, they say, Youssef Megahed would never be brought to that visit, having an in-contact visit with an Egyptian consul. If Yahia was sending a coded message, there was no one to receive it, and the empty image from the inmate webcam would have let him know this.
As for the risk of Megahed attempting to flee, prosecutors say the current extradition treaty with the Arab Republic of Egypt doesnt extend to Egyptian nationals, only other fugitives from American justice.
They also point to the Megahed familys wealth in their native country, and their lack of property ownership in the U.S.
The defense countered by asserting the Megaheds recent application for U.S. citizenship, and an offer by Megaheds father, Samir, to purchase a home in the Tampa Bay area, and to use the equity as bond for his son, in order to prove the family will not seek to leave if his son is granted pre-trial freedom.
His attorneys also pointed out that Megahed and Mohamed are not being held in a Federal detention center, rather rented space from Hillsborough Countys Jail on Falkenburg Road. They separated from the rest of the population and are guarded by U.S. Marshals.
This arrangement doesnt allow for his client to attend the Islamic worship services and clergy at the jail, and this is another reason why the bail agreement ought to be honored.
But after five hours of back and forth arguing by attorneys, the judge decided to review the matter and issue a written ruling at a later date, and that Megaheds stay of bail would continue until then.
He also reminded prosecutors that even though bail may be granted, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has placed a detainer on Megahed, making his departure from the country quite impossible.
"See the jail video of Yahia Megahed waiting to talk to his brother. U.S. prosecutors say the facial gestures and hand signals he makes are some coded language, but defense lawyers point out the other end of the video link had no one watching. Click the icon --> "
Any ideas if his movements are codes?
Goose Creek ~~PING!
CAIR originally defended these yoots but later distanced themselves. Does CAIR have a revised position yet?
Why would anyone even consider bond for this? Too bad they didn’t catch him smuggling unstamped cigarettes. Or maybe conspiring to send Bibles to Saudi Arabia. Then they’d throw the book at him! No Federal judge would consider bond for that.
Megahed in jail.........yep, the jokes just write themselves.......
I thought Megahed was an 80's heavy metal band ... *snicker*
How about we attach a bomb with that monitoring device, just in case.
what is that on the end of his nose? Creep.
The 'codes' are American sign language. I'm having a little trouble interpreting it by looking at a code sheet but the procecution (or the defense for that matter) ought to be able to interpret it. Otherwise he is just making faces.
Why didn't the prosecutors recognize this immediately asking about purchasing firearms but also gun cleaning equipment?
And where are the photographs of the explosives that were in the trunk?
I hope this is not going to be another nifong situation.
Serious story. THese guys should NOT be let out of jail.
However, I have to just mention that while skimming the threads, I thought this said “Megadeth”.. I thought there might be some latest news on the heavy metal band :)
This is the second sentence of the article and the linchpin of the whole report and it is entirely ungrammatical. Lame.
And it doesn't matter if his brother wasn't able to see him during the interview -- the video broadcast to the world now has the brother being able to see the message
The hand gestures are spelling from the hand alphabet for the deaf. I’ve got to see it a few times to get the actual words, but I recognize several letters.