One of three alleged suicide bombers from last year's New York subway bomb plot was back in federal court on new charges he is linked to top al Qaeda leaders.
Adis Medunjanin was silent as his attorney entered not guilty pleas for him during the arraignment in Brooklyn federal court. Medunjanin is tied to convicted terrorists Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay. The three were arrested by the FBI for allegedly traveling to Pakistan to meet with terror leaders and bomb making directions.
Zazi and Ahmedzay have pleaded guilty while Medunjanin's attorney said his client will continue to fight the charges. "He is intent on proceeding to trial," attorney Robert Gottlieb said after Friday's hearing.
Prosecutors said the men were planning to carry out suicide bomb attacks on the subways during rush hour. In addition to bomb training overseas, officials said the trio also scouted the subways. The men grew up together in Flushing, Queens before allegedly turning to terror.
Medunjanin was arrested for allegedly trying to crash his car into others along the Whitestone Expressway in January. Officials said he called 9-1-1 during the incident to make threats. His lawyer denies the allegations saying his client was just involved in a car accident.
The FBI says it can now link the subway bomb plotters to al Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah. Shukrijumah, who was educated in the U.S. and is believed to have ties to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is now believed to be in a top operations position in the terrorist organization. Officials believe Shukrijumah is hiding along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and had also met with terrorist Jose Padilla.
Shukrijumah is believed to be behind other recent bomb plots in Norway and Britain. Shukrijumah had lived in Miramar, Florida with his mother for many years. She recently told the Associated Press that her son is not a terrorist. "This boy would never do evil stuff. He is not an evil person. He loved this country," said Zurah Abdu Ahmed.
Shukrijuma's mother admitted she had not spoke to her son in several years. As for Medunjanin, he remains behind bars awaiting trial. His lawyer said he is filing supression motions claiming admissions his client made to the FBI were made while he already had hired a lawyer and had previously invoked his right to remain silent.