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March 11, 2003

100 FBI Agents Arrest Saudi Student in Night Raid

This article, found at an on-line Arab source, seems upset because of the number of agents used to arrest the student. And of course there is the usual denials, as was the case in the recent Tampa arrest.

Over 100 FBI agents raided the graduate student housing unit of the University of Idaho early Friday morning and arrested Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a 34-year-old Saudi graduate student. Al-Hussayen, a computer science student at the university since 1999, is facing an 11-count federal indictment for alleged visa fraud and making false statements to the government.

Al-Hussayen has pleaded not guilty.

While Al-Hussayen faces no direct terror-related counts, federal prosecutors allege that he failed to disclose his role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, a Muslim charity based in Michigan whose offices were raided at the time of his arrest.

Charging papers contend that Al-Hussayen maintained websites for the organization that featured radical Islamic ideology in order to bring about terrorist acts.

Without elaborating, they further allege that Al-Hussayen kept six US bank accounts through which hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed to the Islamic Assembly of North America and to individuals from Cairo to Islamabad.

The raid happened in a SWAT-team kind of setup, said Cynthia Miller, an Idaho lawyer who represented Al-Hussayen in initial court appearances. Were talking about a family man with three small children who gets up and prays at dawn every morning.

Professor Elizabeth Brandt of the University of Idaho College of Law said in a letter sent to Arab News: The FBI flew in 120 agents, fully armed in riot gear, on two C-17 military aircraft to Moscow, Idaho to arrest one Saudi graduate student for visa fraud. [more]