Jordanian-American appears in New York court on IS charges

Jordanian-American appears in New York court on IS charges
Nader Saadeh, who was extradited from Jordan, is accused by prosecutors of seeking to join the Islamic State group.
3 min read
11 August, 2015
Nader Saadeh appeared in a New York court on terrorism charges [Getty]

A 20-year-old Jordanian-American who flew overseas in an apparent bid to join the Islamic State extremist group (IS, formerly ISIS), appeared in court near New York on Monday on terror allegations, prosecutors said.

He is one of at least four US citizens from the greater New York area arrested in recent months on suspicion of being part of a ring of supporters of the group fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Nader Saadeh, who travelled to Jordan in May in an apparent attempt to join IS fighters in Iraq or Syria, is accused of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the extremists.

He was detained on his arrival in Jordan by the authorities for two days before being released, and then subsequently detained again on May 11, where he was held until his extradition.

He appeared before a magistrate at a US federal court in Newark, New Jersey on Monday where he heard the charges against him.

Prosecutors say that as early as 2012 Saadeh was in contact with one of the other three accused in the New York area, expressing hatred for America and wanting to form a small army of friends.

By April 2015, court papers claimed he had become a radical supporter of the IS group and was preparing to travel overseas.

His defence lawyer, Abdel-Qader al-Khateeb, criticised the manner in which Saadeh was extradited to the United States, in comments made to al-Araby al-Jadeed.

He allegedly justified extremist acts, such as the burning alive of a captured Jordanian pilot and the deadly January attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

He also allegedly viewed IS propaganda videos and researched flights to Turkey as panicked relatives, including his mother, sent him messages begging him not to join IS extremists.

US court papers allege that he became increasingly withdrawn, hostile, angry and secretive as the weeks closed in on his May 5 departure from New York to Amman, the Jordanian capital.

The day before leaving, he allegedly discussed with two other conspirators their joint plan to travel onto Turkey and eventually join IS militants.

But Saadeh was arrested in Jordan shortly after his arrival, before being flown back to America to answer US justice.

Back in New Jersey, his 23-year-old brother Alaa Saadeh was arrested on June 29 and charged with conspiring to provide services and personnel to the Islamic State group and with witness tampering.

The brothers had shared an apartment together after their parents were deported for criminal convictions, court papers say. Their father lives in Oman.

Last month Samuel Topaz, 21, from Fort Lee, New Jersey, was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to IS.

Munther Saleh, a student from New York, was also arrested after trying to stab an FBI surveillance officer and was allegedly planning to carry out a bomb attack in the city.

The head of the FBI, James Comey, last month briefed the Senate select committee on intelligence that upwards of 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.