September 5, 2002 | Frank Main
A Kuwaiti sentenced to eight months in prison for sneaking into the United States may have to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago in the post-Sept. 11 investigation, one of his advocates said Wednesday.
Nabil al Marabh, nabbed Sept. 19, 2001, in suburban Burbank, was sentenced Tuesday for illegally crossing the U.S. border near Niagara Falls in June 2001. Prosecutors said they were not prepared to tie him to terrorism.
“He says he doesn’t know anything about terrorism–he was a bystander,” said Adem Carroll, an advocate with Islamic Circle of North America.
Still, al Marabh feels the government is pressuring him to give up information about terrorism. Al Marabh fears he may end up in prison for life or be killed if he is deported to Syria as the U.S. government plans, Carroll said.
Al Marabh says the FBI has interviewed him 15 times and he was subpoenaed to appear in August before a grand jury here. It was postponed with his sentencing, but he still expects to appear, Carroll said. His lawyer and prosecutors refused to comment.
Carroll offered an explanation of some of the questions surrounding al Marabh’s past, such as his ties to convicted terrorist Raed Hijazi. In 1992, they met in Pakistan and stayed at the House of Martyrs, Carroll said. Authorities say it was an al-Qaida compound.
In 1998, Hijazi contacted al Marabh in Boston, where he was a cabbie, and asked for $500 for a plane ticket. He complied, but denies knowing about Hijazi’s terrorism ties, Carroll said. Hijazi was convicted of trying to bomb a Jordanian hotel packed with U.S. and Israeli citizens on Jan. 1, 2000.
When al Marabh went to Pakistan in 1992, he worked for the Muslim World League, helping refugees, Carroll said. The group is suspected of funneling money to Osama bin Laden, authorities say. Al Marabh admits training with weapons in Afghanistan but says he was not involved in fighting or terrorist activity.
Al Marabh denies knowing five men charged last week in Detroit with aiding terrorists. The FBI arrested some of the men while looking for al Marabh in Detroit, but it was a coincidence, Carroll said.
Man in 9/11 probe not done talking yet