Context clues indicate unnamed co-conspirator is Mazen Al-NajjarBy CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 21, 2003
TAMPA -- The indictment against Sami Al-Arian includes numerous references to an "Unindicted Co-conspirator Twelve," a man federal prosecutors say played an active role in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
That man appears to be Mazen Al-Najjar, Al-Arian's brother-in-law and a former University of South Florida instructor who was jailed for years on secret evidence before being deported in August.
It is Justice Department policy not to name unindicted co-conspirators. But the indictment identifies the wife of No. 12 as Fedaa Al-Najjar, who is married to Mazen Al-Najjar.
As a former high-ranking member of the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, prosecutors say, No. 12 advised Jihad leaders about organizational structure, finances, and its relationship to other terrorist groups.
WISE is a former think tank founded by Al-Arian at USF that authorities say was a front for terrorism.
According to the indictment, these are some of the episodes involving No. 12:
-- In November 1991, he sent a package from Tampa with a declared value of $8,000 to Bashir Musa Mohammed Nafi, one of the indicted defendants, in the United Kingdom. It is unclear from the indictment what the package contained.
-- In April 1992, he helped modify computer files at WISE that contained the wills of three Jihad terrorists who had created their wills in anticipation of a suicide attack.
-- In February 1994, he wired $102,872 to Muhammed Tasir Hassan Al-Khatib, the Jihad treasurer, in Beirut, Lebanon.
-- In April 1994, No. 12 and Al-Arian spoke by phone of the possibility of WISE receiving $50,000 from sources in the Sudan. They also spoke of altering Al-Najjar's Egyptian passport, changing a date from 1990 to 1993.
-- In September, Fedaa Al-Najjar had a phone conversation with one of the indicted defendants, Hatim Naji Fariz, in which she blamed the government's treatment of her husband on his Palestinian heritage. Fariz responded that it also stemmed from Al-Najjar's association with terror groups.
It is unclear why Al-Najjar wasn't indicted.
"I guess it's possible that he's cooperating," said Steve Crawford, a former federal prosecutor.
Al-Najjar recently was reunited with his wife and three daughters in an undisclosed Arab country.
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