ISIS terror suspect to remain in jail pending trial in Detroit

Robert Snell Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Ibraheem Musaibli, 28, was flown from Syria to the United States this week to stand trial in a rare terrorism case in Detroit.

Detroit — A Dearborn man captured on a Syrian battlefield and charged with supporting the Islamic State agreed to stay in jail pending trial in a unique terrorism case in Detroit.

Ibraheem Musaibli, 28, who was flown from Syria to the United States this week to face charges, consented to detention during a brief hearing in federal court.

Musaibli returned to federal court for a detention hearing Friday, during which the government was expected to argue he is a flight risk, a danger to the community and provided support to the Islamic State terror group.

That portrayal is at odds with comments from Musaibli's relatives, who claim he was kidnapped by the terrorist group and imprisoned because he would not fight.

No family members attended Friday's hearing, at which Musaibli pleaded not guilty.

Read more: Suspected ISIS soldier tricked into joining fight, family says

U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider, who attended the hearing, said he was not surprised by Musaibli's plea. 

“The defendant is innocent until proven guiltyand we fully expected he’d enter a not guilty plea at this time,” Schneider said. “(His family) can say all they want; we have a different view that will come out in court.”

Ibraheem Musaibli -- high school yearbook photo

Musaibl was charged in an unsealed indictment Tuesday with providing material support to the Islamic State, a 20-year felony.

He is believed to be one of only two male Americans captured alive on an Islamic State battlefield and his case presents one of the first times the Trump administration is using federal courts to prosecute a returning foreign fighter.

The indictment accuses Musaibli of providing support to ISIS since April 2015. ISIS is a designated foreign terrorist organization. He used several aliases, including Abu Shifa Musaibli and Abu ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Yemeni, according to the government.

He was taken into custody by coalition-backed forces this month while trying to flee the Middle Euphrates River Valley in northern Syria.

Musaibli is represented by court-appointed lawyer James Gerometta, who defended Karim Koubriti in 2003 in the first terror case to go to trial after the Sept. 11 attacks. His conviction was overturned in 2004 at the request of the Justice Department amid allegations of misconduct by a federal prosecutor.

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