A 19-year-old suburban Chicago man on Monday was ordered to remain in federal detention until an arraignment on charges he knowingly attempted to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, namely ISIS.
Inside a packed courtroom at the Dirksen Federal Building, Asst. U.S. Attorney Matt Hiller offered 21 government exhibits they claim proved Mohammed Hamzah Khan was a "danger to his community" who has "been radicalized… and is not is just a misguided teenager."
"They were seeking to provide support to a terrorist organization," said Hiller.
"They" refers to Kahn and his two younger siblings, a sister who is 17 years old and a brother who is 16 years old.
"He (Kahn) had a sophisticated and discreet plan to bring his siblings half way around the world," said Hiller.
Among the evidence were the three round trip plane tickets Kahn purchased to Istanbul, Turkey for $2,679.00. Prosecutors said he worked all summer at a big box retailer to pay for the tickets. Evidence also included several notebook entries, found in books all around their Bolingbrook home, that highlighted their hate for so-called western values and their desire to fight for ISIS.
Hiller finished saying the case against Khan was about strictly about the teen's actions.
"He is not being prosecuted for his thoughts," he said.
Kahn’s attorney, Tom Durkin, responded saying prosecution’s case was "absurd and weak."
He argued the case "can’t really be classified as an attempt to provide material support (to terrorists), when they were stopped at O”Hare."
"He’s a 19-year-old kid. We can’t give up on these kids because they had bad thoughts and didn’t like filth," he said, repeatedly insisted they were just going to travel to Syria to live in religious caliphate in order to "fulfill religious obligations."
He's previously said the teen's parents did not know of their son's plans, and in his plea to keep Kahn out of custody, Durkin told Judge Susan Cox that his parents would agree to electronic monitoring and supervise him for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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But the judge ruled Kahn's parents were not a viable option since they didn’t even know the 19, 17 and 16 year olds were not in their house when the FBI arrived to search it. Instead, the teens were already at O’Hare International Airport with boarding passes in hand.
"The evidence (for Kahn) to leave the US to join a terror organization and provide support is strong," Cox said. "He was prepared to abandoned his home, family, community and country to join ISIS," she said, and he was going to bring his siblings in the fray.
In the end, Cox deemed Kahn a flight risk and a danger to community.
"The notebook writings show he is not stable and in control of his own actions," she said. "He is clearly willing to take significant steps to obtain his beliefs."
A future court date was not set.