Judge scolds terrorist suspect

ATLANTA --- A terrorism suspect who is acting as his own lawyer questioned his alleged accomplice in federal court Thursday, eliciting testimony about Superman being the antichrist and Freemasons being devil worshippers -- and drawing an admonition from the judge.

 

"Mr. Sadequee, this is a court of law where evidence is presented," U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey told the defendant, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee. "You cannot turn this into a room in which you can instruct others on illogical matters."

Mr. Sadequee, 23, who was born in Virginia and is of Bangladeshi descent, is charged with sending video of Washington landmarks to overseas terrorists and traveling to Bangladesh to pursue "violent jihad" -- an Arabic term that can include the notion of "holy war."

His alleged accomplice, Syed Haris Ahmed, 24, a former Georgia Tech student who was born in Pakistan, was convicted in June of plotting to support terrorist groups and is now a key prosecution witness against his friend.

Mr. Sadequee led Mr. Ahmed through several messages from an online jihad forum and transcripts of online chats between the two and others. Citing the number of times they wrote "lol," or "laughing out loud," during their discussions of plans to go to Pakistan for jihad training, Mr. Ahmed said the conversations were not serious but rather "empty" discussions of "dreams" and "fantasies."

When Mr. Sadequee asked Mr. Ahmed why they videotaped a Masonic Temple in northern Virginia, Mr. Ahmed gave a lengthy explanation about their shared belief that Freemasons are devil worshippers.

The judge finally interrupted and admonished Mr. Sadequee after Mr. Ahmed explained their belief that Superman represents the antichrist because his kryptonite-induced weakness has parallels to a certain Muslim belief.

Mr. Sadequee also challenged an assertion that FBI agents made no threats or promises against Mr. Ahmed when he signed a statement in March 2006.