The courtroom was filled to capacity 20 minutes before the start of a scheduled bail hearing for three Somali immigrants accused of aiding a Somali terrorist group.
Islamic teacher Basaaly Saeed Moalin, 33, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, 38, and Issa Doreh, 54, from San Diego are among six people charged nationwide with providing material support to al-Shabab in 2007 and 2008.
The three men, who have pleaded not guilty to the charges, appeared in court Friday.
Moalin is being held without bail after government prosecutors argued he is a flight risk and danger to the community.
“He’s a family man, he’s a taxi driver, he’s a U.S. citizen, he had no prior record of any kind and I haven’t seen any evidence to show that he is involved in any of the alleged events,” said Moalin’s lawyer, Marc Geller.
Detention hearings were postponed for Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh until Nov. 9.
All three defendants will remain in federal jail. The lawyers said they want more time to work on the cases and show the magistrate judge and prosecutors that the three men are not a flight risk or danger to the community and should be released on bail.
At least two of the men are being held in solitary confinement. Mohamud’s lawyer said the solitary confinement is making it difficult for him to communicate with his client.
Somalis who are showing support for Mohamud, the religious leader of the Masjid Al-Ansar mosque in City Heights, took most of the seats in the small magistrate’s courtroom.
“What we’re concerned about now is the Somali community here who are peaceful, hard working community members. We hope that they do not become demonized because of this case and we hope the FBI respects the civil rights of the Somali community in San Diego County,” said Edger Hopida, the director of public relations for the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
According to the indictment, handed up on October 22, 2010 and unsealed Tuesday, Mohamud, Moalin, and Doreh conspired to provide money to al-Shabaab.
The indictment alleges that Moalin called a prominent military leader with al-Shabaab in late 2007 and 2008. During that time, the leader, Aden Hashi Ayrow, requested Moalin raise money for the group. The indictment alleges that Moalin coordinated fundraising efforts and money transfers with Mohamud and Doreh including a transfer of $2,000 on Feb. 14, 2008, $3,000 on April 23, 2008 and approximately $4,000 in several transfers in July 2008.
Moalin also allegedly provided a house in Somalia "knowing the house would be used in preparation for, and to carry out, a conspiracy to kill persons in a foreign country," according to the indictment.