Federal Judge Denies Bail to Russian National Bombing Suspect

Federal Judge Denies Bail to Russian National Bombing Suspect

Federal District Judge Kim Gibson denied bail late Friday to Vladislav Miftakhov, the 18-year-old Russian national arrested January 24 on bomb-making charges in Altoona, Pennsylvania. WEAR TV reported Gibson “ruled that Vladislav Miftakhov will not be going home with his parents” and will instead “remain in jail until his trial.”

Miftakhov was initially charged with “possessing a weapon of mass destruction,” a felony under Pennsylvania state law. On February 6, federal prosecutors took over the case and filed felony charges against him.

On February 11, U.S. Magistrate Keith Pesto granted Miftakhov’s release to the custody of his mother in California, pending an appeal to U.S. Federal District Judge Kim Gibson.

Miftakhov lived with his mother and step-father in San Carlos, California, where he graduated from Carlmont High School in 2013. He was offered a scholarship to Penn State-Altoona and was studying engineering there at the time of his arrest.

In a brief submitted to Federal District Judge Gibson on Tuesday, Miftakhov’s lawyer Chris Brown, staff attorney with the Federal Public Defenders Office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, stated that his client’s father, Valery, is “a lawful permanent resident of the United States and is head of a division at one of the world’s largest tech companies.”

Brown declined to name the company for whom the suspect’s father works but provided the court with family photographs, including one taken in 2012 of the suspect with his father.

Both U.S. Attorney James Kitchen and Blair County District Attorney Robert Consiglio objected vigorously to Pesto’s decision. Kitchen argued in his petition to Judge Gibson that Miftakhov should not be released because he is a flight risk, especially since he would be living in California on bail and is not an American citizen.

The Russian Legal Information Agency reported that U.S. Attorney Kitchen argued Miftakhov’s parents “are also not [US] citizens and have considerable ties to Russia… the defendant (and his family) retain their citizenship in Russia, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.”

The court set no timeline for the beginning of Miftakhov’s trial.