Fil-Am terror suspect’s family takes stand as trial enters fourth week

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Sept. 11, 2014

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A Filipino-American accused of aspiring to join Al-Qaeda continues the fight to clear his name.

Ralph DeLeon’s trial is now in its fourth week. The 25-year-old Philippine national, as well as co-defendant Sohiel Omar Kabir, has sat quietly in the courtroom as witnesses continue to take the stand.

Among those called on Wednesday and Thursday was Kabir’s family, who gave his background, saying the man accused of recruiting DeLeon and two others to join Al-Qaeda was a forgetful man who smoked a lot of marijuana.

Kabir’s father, a former Afghanistan army colonel, relived how the family fled to the U.S. in the 80’s to escape the Soviet Union’s invasion and how he warned his son to stay away from the likes of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Kabir’s defense had filed a motion for acquittal, saying that there is insufficient evidence that proves the Afghan born U.S. citizen was involved in the alleged terror plot.

The judge has yet to approve or deny that motion.

A terrorism expert also took the stand this week on behalf of the defense. The expert explained how in many cases of so-called homegrown terrorism, suspects are often youth and are “all talk”, barely escalating into terrorist actions.

DeLeon’s defense had argued during the beginning of the trial that he and his friends were potheads, who’s secretly taped conversations about terrorism should not be taken seriously, and they were possibly entrapped by an FBI informant with a criminal history.

The lengthy jury trial is expected go on for about three more weeks. With most of the evidence and witness list sealed, there is limited information on who may or may not show up on the witness stand.

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  • Mario
    12 September 2014 at 3:24 am - Reply

    UK politicians is passing a bill for automatic termination the citizenship to UK residence who join ISIS.Some of UK politicians want to include the immediate member of his family and deportation will follow as ASAP. I wish a GOP will sponsor the same bill in the US.

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