US trial for Pinoy accused of terrorism continues

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 20 2014 03:29 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2014 11:29 PM

RIVERSIDE, California - The jury trial for the case of the Philippine national accused of aspiring to join al Qaeda has now entered its second week.

Authorities claim Ralph DeLeon, a 25-year old permanent resident who moved from the Philippines to the US at age 13, was on his way to the Middle East to join al Qaeda and carry out terror acts against Americans when he was arrested in November 2012.

On Tuesday, prosecutors unveiled pictures depicting terrorism that they claim to have found on computers seized from DeLeon's home.

DeLeon and Soheil Omar Kabir face five counts, which include attempting to join a terror group and conspiring to harm and kill Americans.

DeLeon, who has pleaded not guilty, faces a 15-year prison sentence.

Kabir is accused of recruiting him to join Al Qaeda along with Miguel Santana and Arifeen David Gojali as far back in 2010.

Santana and Gojali have since pleaded guilty, and are expected to testify against DeLeon and Kabir during the trial.

DeLeon, whom according to previous interviews with his family was raised Catholic, converted to Islam around 2010.

As the trial started, the credibility of a confidential informant has come into question.

Some civil rights groups believe he could have entrapped the defendants especially as the informant reportedly paid for many of the defendants' activities ranging from vacations to dinners and outings.

Records describe the informant as a non-US citizen who had deportable drug related convictions.

The informant, who attended the same mosque as DeLeon, was given over a quarter million dollars and has been spared from deportation in exchange for aiding federal agents to DeLeon and his friends' arrest.

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