US Judge Orders Bangladeshi Held for Trial Over Alleged Plot to Kill Serviceman

BenarNews staff
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161011-das-620.jpg A member of the Iraqi government forces celebrates in front of an Islamic State flag covered in graffiti the day after recapturing the town of Sharqat, Sept. 23, 2016.

A U.S. District Court judge on Tuesday ordered a Bangladeshi citizen arrested last week on charges related to an alleged plan to kill an American serviceman on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) to be detained to face further court action, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Nelash Mohamed Das had expressed support for IS and IS-linked or inspired terrorist attacks last year in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

In court documents filed following his arrest on Oct. 3, prosecutors claimed that Das, a Bangladesh citizen who lives in Hyattsville, Md., had posted a tweet expressing envy for IS supporters or members involved in terrorist acts. That tweet led to an FBI investigation involving a confidential informant.

The government charged the legal permanent resident, who has been living in the U.S. since 1995, with attempting to provide material support and resources to IS in connection with a plot to kill a member of the U.S. military.

Das, who faces up to 20 years in prison, trained to shoot small-arm weapons, registered his fingerprints for a gun permit, practiced at a local gun range and bought ammunition at a gun store in Virginia, the DOJ claimed in court papers. Authorities arrested Das in a sting in Maryland during what appeared to be the final stage of his plan.

The defendant, who has been in federal custody since his arrest, maintains his innocence.

Das says he was unfairly set up and badgered into the scheme by the U.S. government, according to the Washington Post. In a phone interview on Wednesday, Das told the Post that the informant had manipulated his emotions and showed videos sympathetic to the Islamic State before hounding him to take part in the plot.

“I didn’t really want to do it,” Das, 24, told the newspaper. “He just came and put it in my head.”

Das said the government was trying to present him as someone who is against other faiths.

He told the Post that he had friends who are soldiers, that he had dated women who are not Muslim and that he went to bars.

“I’m just a kid smoking weed in my basement and playing video games,” Das said.

His mother, Bijaya Das, told the Post that her son had made a mistake and the informant “messed up his head.”

“I know my son is a very good boy,” Bijaya Das said. “He has a very soft heart. He believes everybody.”

Prosecutors pointed out, however, that the charges resulted from a plot to kill a U.S. service member.

“Individuals intent on carrying out violence in the name of foreign terrorist organizations pose one of the most concerning threats that law enforcement faces today and stopping these offenders before they are able to act is our highest priority,” U.S. Assistant Attorney General Carlin said in a statement at the time of Das’ arrest.


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