HOUSTON, TX – An air of heaviness and confusion appeared to cloak terror suspect Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan as he was escorted into a Houston federal courtroom on Friday morning to hear the three charges against him.
The 24-year-old Houstonian is accused of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, providing false information to obtain citizenship and making false statements to U.S. officials. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy read the charges against him and he interacted with her via an interpreter.
Al Hardan appeared in court in a rumpled black and gray long-sleeved plaid shirt with khaki pants and glasses.
Prosecutors asked for him to be detained pending trial and the judge ordered a detention hearing on Wednesday.
Milloy also appointed David Adler to represent Al Hardan.
Al Hardan was one of two people arrested Thursday as part of federal investigations into alleged terrorist plans. The other man, from Sacramento, Calif., was identified as Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab.
Al-Jayab was charged with making a false statement involving international terrorism. The 23-year-old allegedly “traveled overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lied to U.S. authorities about his activities,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin in a statement. He was scheduled to appear in a California courtroom Friday morning.
According to the indictment, Al Hardan is an Iraqi refugee of Palestinian heritage who entered the United States in 2009 the month before he turned 18.