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Bangladeshi to face US grand jury by mid-Nov in NY bomb plot

Publication Date : 26-10-2012


The US federal prosecutors have until mid-November to convene a grand jury and indict a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man who was living in the US when he allegedly tried to detonate a bomb outside the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan last week.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was ordered held without bail October 17 as he was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group al-Qaeda, the US attorney for the Southern District said.

Prosecutors have 30 days from the date of his arrest to get an indictment, TimesLedger reported.

Nafis was arrested earlier that morning after he parked a van outside the Federal Reserve Bank on Liberty Street with a fake bomb provided to him by an undercover law-enforcement officer through an FBI (Federal Burea of Investigation) sting operation, authorities said.

The New York Times reported the FBI arrested a man in San Diego on unrelated charges who was believed to be Nafis' co-conspirator in the alleged plot.

Neighbours on the block where Nafis lived in Jamaica said they knew little, if anything at all, about him.

Mohammad Chowdhery and his family live just above Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis' second-floor apartment on 93rd Avenue.

“I've seen him a couple of times, like three or four times,” Chowdhery said. “When I work nights, sometimes I come late like 3:30, 4. So one day I open the door around 3:30am and he's coming down. He is going out at that time. We just say, "Hello", "hi"."

Chowdhery said Nafis was living by himself in a neighbourhood which is home to many ethnic Bangladeshis and that nothing about the young man really stood out to him as suspicious.

“I was shocked. I'm really shocked,” he said. “He's very young. When I heard that, I feel like I don't believe that guy is doing that thing.”

Nafis came to the United States on a student visa in January, according to a criminal complaint filed by the US attorney's office, and began attending classes at Southeast Missouri State University.

A university spokeswoman said Nafis was enrolled for 12 credits from January through July and had his records transferred to an institution in Brooklyn over the summer. He lived off campus during his six-month stay, the spokeswoman said, and was placed on academic suspension at the end of the semester.

From the time they recruited Nafis until the day they transferred his paperwork, Southeast Missouri State University officials said Tuesday they never broke protocol or procedures in their brief affiliation with the former international student charged last week with trying to blow up the Federal Reserve building in New York.

For that matter, the officials said, they never saw anything that would warrant alarm or rouse suspicion during any of their dealings with the 21-year-old native of Bangladesh who was in Cape Girardeau for the spring semester.

"If anything would have happened with this, it would have happened in New York after he left here," said Zahir Ahmed, the university's director of international education and services. "I don't see how we could have done anything different."

Ahmed and Debbie Below, vice president of enrolment, insisted Tuesday in interviews with the Southeast Missourian that, while there was one blip during his admissions process, Nafis was in full compliance with federal rules in the five months he was here.

Most who passed by Nafis' home said they did not know him at all.

Melvin Ramcherem, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 20 years, said many of the buildings on Nafis' block were built within the past few years and many of the neighbours were new.

Just outside the door of Nafis' next-door neighbour hung an American flag.

Chowdhery, the man who lives above him, said the neighbours put the flag up because their son is in the US Army.


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