Government Affirms Arizona Man Tied to Somali Terrorists Lied at Every Turn to Enter U.S.

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As the trial of suspected terrorist Mohamed Abdirahman Osman begins in Arizona, one thing seems certain. He has lied about every single aspect of his life in order to be awarded status as a “refugee” to get into the United States.

Both the government’s prosecutors, as well as the suspect’s defense team, seem to agree that Osman is a liar. But to what degree and about what are the questions at the heart of the trial, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The government has charged Osman with eight counts of lying on his immigration papers to gain legal status as a refugee. He is accused of lying about his ties to the Somali Islamist terror group, al-Shabab, for one. He is also accused of lying about his father’s name and his nationality. The government further says he presented a fake Somali passport at the time he filed his paperwork and that his real place of birth is Ethiopia, not Somalia.

While agreeing that Osman has lied, his defense team insists that the lies were all harmless. Indeed, his lawyer said that his client’s name is really Mustaf Adan Arale and that he really was born in Somalia. Naturally, he also denies any ties at all to any terror groups.

As the legal proceedings began, a judge ordered that Osman will be held in jail because he is a flight risk.

“Given the nature and seriousness of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the defendant and the defendant’s family and community ties, the court finds that no combination of conditions exist that would reasonably assure defendant’s appearance at future court proceedings,” said Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Rateau.

Osman’s wife was released from confinement after Judge Rateau decided she was not a flight risk or a danger to the community, but she also faces several counts of lying to the government during Osman’s application for legal status.

The government charges that Osman lost both hands and the sight in one eye because he was involved in a 2010 bomb attack in Somalia. He was with al-Shabab for a short time before being given a fake Somali passport and sent to China where he stayed for three years. He then obtained status in the U.S. and emigrated to Arizona in 2014, the government says.

The government also presented testimony that Osman has told several different tales about how he lost his hands and his wife’s account of their actions after the bombing where he lost his hands does not jive with Osman’s.

The government said that since he arrived in the U.S., Osman has maintained communications with people in Somalia that are known members of al-Shabab. Also, the government alleges that Osman sent $10,000 each year back to Somalia to be used for purposes of terrorism.

Osman’s defense denies all the prosecution’s accusations saying there is no proof for any of the government’s claims. Indeed, Osman’s lawyer insisted that the government’s case “is an attempt to find a terrorist where there are no terrorists.”

The deadline for Osman to enter a plea is August 31, and a trial is set to start on September 18.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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