Election Section

Suspected terror cell member pleads innocent

The Associated Press
Wednesday October 16, 2002

PORTLAND, Ore. – A man accused of conspiring to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks pleaded innocent Tuesday. 

A federal indictment accuses Ahmed Bilal and five others, including his brother Muhammad Bilal, of conspiring to wage war against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and to provide material support to the Taliban and al-Qaida. 

The indictment says three of the suspects never made it to Afghanistan to carry out their plan; it does not say whether the others did. All had ties to Portland. 

Five of the suspects, all American Muslims, are in custody in Portland; with Bilal’s plea, all have pleaded innocent. The sixth suspect, Jordanian Habis Abdulla al Saoub, is still at large. 

The case is one of two in the country against alleged terrorist cells. The other accuses six people in Lackawanna, N.Y.