El-Faisal denied bail by Manhattan court

El-Faisal denied bail by Manhattan court

Observer writer

Monday, August 17, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States — Jamaican-born Muslim cleric Sheikh Abullah el-Faisal, who was extradited here last Thursday, was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday and ordered held without bail.

El-Faisal had pleaded not guilty to a slew of federal charges that could see him spending the remainder of his life behind bars if convicted.

Prosecutors say that el-Faisal encouraged terrorist acts against targets in New York and that he used his religious background and prominence to pervert the Muslim religion to justify the killing of innocent people, the New York Daily News reported.

El-Faisal, whose given name is Trevor Williams, is also accused of establishing an online presence and was not only a strong supporter of the Islamic faith, but acted as a marriage broker for females who wanted to migrate and marry Islamic State (IS) members, and also had connections with people interested in joining the terrorist network.

Assistant District Attorney David Stuart told the court el-Faisal “spent almost all of his adult life preaching violent and radical ideas”, the Daily News reported.

In granting prosecutors’ request that el-Faisal be remanded in custody, Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley also approved a lockdown, meaning el-Faisal will be confined for 23 hours per day and will be limited in his communication and movement in jail.

Efforts by the Jamaica Observer to contact Michael Fineman, the attorney listed as representing el-Faisal, were not successful. He was quoted by the Daily News as saying the charges against his client were “ridiculous” and were an attempt to punish unpopular speech.

He fought his extradition for approximately three years, until his hopes were ended by the Court of Appeal last month.

The court ruled that his lawyers had failed to comply with the mandatory appeal filing requirements in the specified time, and that there was no arguable grounds of appeal.

Days later, Minster of Justice Delroy Chuck signed a surrender warrant to the United States for el-Faisal.

He is due back in court in Manhattan in October.

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