Webmaster terrorism support case heads to jury
The jury got the case Tuesday in the trial of a Saudi Arabian graduate student accused of using his Web sites to support terrorism.
Jurors will begin deliberations Wednesday. They heard five hours of closing arguments and seven weeks of testimony.
Prosecutors have argued that Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, 34, turned Web sites of the Islamic Assembly of North America into an Internet network providing information to foster terrorism, particularly in the Middle East and Chechnya.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Lindquist cited religious edicts justifying suicide bombings and an invitation to financially support the militant Palestinian organization Hamas in arguing Tuesday that Al-Hussayen should be convicted.
"The Web site network contained material beyond religious material that when to extreme jihad, to terrorism," Lindquist said during his two-hour closing argument. "Was its purpose scholarly analysis, just news? ... No. It's material meant to fund and recruit. That's the purpose of this stuff."
But Al-Hussayen's defense has maintained that his association with the Web sites was as a Muslim volunteer. His interest in the content, lead defense attorney David Nevin said, was only in passing on information about Muslim oppression in Chechnya and the Mideast.
Al-Hussayen, just months from his doctorate in computer science at the University of Idaho, also is accused of visa fraud and making false statements for allegedly trying to hide his association with the Michigan-based assembly.
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