Former Winnipegger accused in terror case will not face death penalty
Al Farekh has been in solitary confinement for nearly a year
The U.S. government will not seek the death penalty in its case against a former University of Manitoba student awaiting trial in New York on terror-related charges.
Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh is facing nine new terror-related charges for his alleged role in attacks on U.S. citizens.
In court proceedings late Tuesday, Al Farekh's lawyer, Sean Maher told the court he confirmed the U.S. would not seek capital punishment for his alleged involvement in the attack.
American officials allege they have pulled Al Farekh's prints from an unexploded car bomb involved in a fatal attack on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan in January 2009.
"I did speak with the Government yesterday to get an update on the issue and whether there will be another superceding indictment with capital eligible charges," Maher said. "I was informed that the government is not going to be seeking those charges."
Maher also objected to the fact that his client has been in solitary for so long while awaiting trial.
"Mr Al Farekh has been, basically, in solitary confinement for close to year at this point," he said.
The prosecution team has asked for an additional four months to prepare its motion under the Classified Information Procedures Act. It is drawing on evidence culled from numerous agencies under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
When he was first brought back to the U.S. from Pakistan in April of 2015, Al Farekh was originally facing charges only related to his alleged involvement in a foiled al Qaeda bomb plot in New York. The charges include conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists.
After the nine additional counts were added in January of this year, Sean Maher asked for additional legal help with the caseload. Attorney David Ruhnke has now been appointed to Al Farekh's legal team.
If found guilty, Al Farekh could face life in prison.
In 2007, Al Farekh and two fellow University of Manitoba students left Winnipeg for Pakistan. They were the subject of a global manhunt because of their alleged involvement with Al Qaeda.
Although Al Farekh has been in custody in the U.S. since early 2015. The whereabouts of the other two former Winnipeggers is unknown.