Huntsville terrorism suspect’s request to lower bond rejected by judge following unannounced hearing

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A Madison County judge has rejected a Huntsville terrorism suspect’s request to lower his bond from $250,000 cash.

The ruling by Madison County Circuit Judge Karen Hall followed a hearing Tuesday that included Aziaz Sayyed, his attorneys, prosecutors and the county attorney, according to the order. There was no public notice of the hearing in the court record.

“After due consideration of the arguments of counsel, and all relevant and applicable law, this Court finds that the Honorable Schuyler Richardson made sufficient findings as to why it set the petitioner’s bail at $250,000, with additional conditions, on its Order of July,” Hall wrote in the order.

Sayyed, a U.S. citizen, was arrested June 15 and charged with providing support to terrorism.

Investigators have testified Sayyed admitted having discussions about making a bomb and planting in a local police station. He also admitted buying the necessary materials to build a homemade bomb, investigators said in court testimony.

The testimony in a July 18 preliminary hearing  from Huntsville Police Department investigator Brad Snipes also noted the FBI had been monitoring Sayyed for months, that they'd used a confidential informant to record conversations - in Arabic -- with him, and that he'd watched ISIS beheading videos. Snipes said the FBI transcript of Sayyed's conversations suggested he was interested in placing the bomb during the week of June 12.

Sayyed’s attorney Bruce Gardner has argued the order setting bond at $250,000 cash is unconstitutional. Under Alabama law defendants are entitled to bond in all but capital murder cases, but Gardner says the bond amount is so high, it’s effectively the same as no bond. Gardner has also argued the case against Sayyed involves talk he was involved in and household chemicals that he bought, but no actual attempt to make a bomb.

Prosecutors have argued Sayyed is a danger to the community and has pledged allegiance to the terror group ISIS.

Judge Richardson agreed. Following a July 18 preliminary hearing where investigators laid out the case against Sayyed, he issued the cash-bond only order.

“Based upon that testimony, the court finds that the defendant would pose a grave risk of harm to the public if released,” the judge wrote.

Gardner told WHNT News 19 last week that if his petition before Judge Hall was rejected, he’d appeal Sayyed’s bond to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals.

Sayyed is currently in the Madison County Jail. His case has been bound over for a grand jury to review and decide if there is sufficient evidence against him for the case to go to trial.