Prosecution: Huntsville terror suspect plotted to bomb law enforcement, practiced for beheadings

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A Madison County judge is considering whether to set  bond after a hearing revealed a number of startling details about the terrorism charge against Aziz Sayyed, arrested in Huntsville in June. The judge is expected to rule later this week.

Sayyed had been held for nearly three weeks without a bond hearing, which his lawyer argued was unconstitutional.  Bruce Gardner, Sayyed’s lawyer, pointed to a bond schedule for the state, which he argued sets a Class C felony in the range of $2,500 to $30,000 bond.

The prosecution argued in court filings that Sayyed represented a clear danger to the public and asked for either no bond or a bond of no less than $250,000. Today prosecutors requested that if Madison County District Judge Schuyler Richardson was going to set bond, that he set it at a minimum of $100,000 cash. They told the court they feared Sayyed would flee the charges against him and try and join other ISIS members .

In the court hearing,  Madison County Assistant District Attorney Jay Town — who has been nominated by President Trump to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama —  told the court that Sayyed said he wanted to behead people after watching ISIS videos and practiced knife skills for beheading.

Town told the court that evidence shows Sayyed was downloading ISIS beheading videos in February then told people he wanted to practice beheadings. In April he was given some plywood that he allegedly used to practice his knife skills.  Town said that Sayyed also made statements about watching vidoes to learn how to make an explosive device, similar to the one used in the Manchester attack and other incidents.  The Manchester attack killed 22 and injured more than 200 people.

In court filings, the prosecution alleges Sayyed confessed to planning on putting explosives in public buildings. They also say Sayyed had materials for bombmaking in his apartment when it was searched shortly after Sayyed’s arrest. Town also told the court Sayyed planned to use the devices in Madison County.

Specifically, the prosecution says Sayyed intended to bomb a law enforcement center in Huntsville, saying it would bring the whole building down.

The defense argued that the defendant may have watched videos and bought things, but he hadn’t actually done anything yet. He argued it would be a slippery slope to hold someone based solely on a perceived threat.

Sayyed, 22, is charged with Soliciting or Providing Support for Terrorism in the 2nd degree, which is a Class C felony in Alabama. It carries a sentence between 1 and 10 years in prison.

Sayyed has a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 2.

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