Accessibility links

Breaking News

US Citizen Indicted for Alleged Terrorist Activities


A U.S. citizen has been arrested in Ohio and charged with conspiring to support terrorist activities both at home and abroad. VOA's Michael Bowman has details from Washington.

The U.S. Justice Department describes the man, 43-year-old Christopher Paul, as a "violent jihadist."

Paul was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction in the form of an explosive, and two counts of providing material support and resources to terrorists.

The indictment, handed down by a federal grand jury, alleges that Paul's known terrorist connections began in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when he is said to have traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan for training at an al-Qaida military camp.

"By mid-1991, the indictment alleges, he actually joined al-Qaida and stayed at a guest house exclusively for al-Qaida members," said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd. "He returned to the United States, taught martial arts at a mosque in Columbus [Ohio], and then over the next few years provided money and equipment from the U.S. to individuals overseas."

"In 1999, he traveled to Germany, and provided training on explosives to a radical Islamic group in Germany. He also assisted them in recruiting new members," he added.

More recently, the indictment alleges that Paul stored a variety of military gear and literature on explosives in Columbus, and conducted research on commercial flight simulator programs and remote controlled boats and helicopters.

The indictment does not list specific targets that Paul or his associates were believed to have contemplated for attack.

Justice officials say the case underscores the need for cooperation among government agencies in fighting terrorism and should serve as a strong warning to any U.S. citizen who considers joining forces with America's enemy.

Paul has not been convicted of any crime and is innocent until proven guilty.