FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
OREGON RESIDENT MAHER HAWASH CHARGED IN ‘PORTLAND SIX’ CONSPIRACY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorney General John Ashcroft, Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Mosman of the District of Oregon, and Special Agent in Charge Charles Mathews III of the Portland Division of the FBI today announced that Maher Mofeid Hawash has been charged with conspiracy as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the activities of the so-called “Portland Six.”
Hawash, 39, of Hillsboro, Oregon, was charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to levy war against the United States, in violation of 18 USC Section 2384; conspiracy to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda, a foreign terrorist organization, in violation of 18 USC Section 2339B; and conspiracy to contribute services to al Qaeda and the Taliban, in violation of 50 USC Section 1705(b).
The complaint alleges that Hawash, along with Jeffrey Battle, Patrice Ford, Muhammad Bilal, Ahmed Bilal and Habis Al Saoub, decided after the September 11th attacks to fight a jihad. The charges allege that the defendants began to travel to Afghanistan in October 2001 to join forces with Taliban and al Qaeda troops fighting U.S. and allied military personnel.
According to the complaint, which was filed before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones, Hawash left the United States on Oct. 24, 2001, and flew to Hong Kong, where he joined defendants Battle, Ford, Ahmed Bilal, Muhammad Bilal and Al Saoub, and entered into China. The complaint alleges that Hawash traveled with the other defendants to Urumqi and Kashgar in the Xinjaing Province in Western China, and to Beijing, in an attempt to enter Afghanistan and fight against U.S. forces after Sept. 11, 2001. The complaint alleges that Hawash and the other defendants stayed at the same hotels in China on at least three occasions: at the Shan Cheng Hotel in Urumqi; at the Chini Bagh Guest House in Kashgar, China, in October 2001, where Hawash and Battle shared a room; and at the Jing Hua Hotel in Beijing, with a departure date of Nov. 11, 2001.
Hawash returned to the United States in November 2001 after his unsuccessful attempt to enter Afghanistan. According to the complaint, Hawash claimed that his travel to China was related to his personal software business.
On Oct. 3, 2002, a federal grand jury in the District of Oregon returned an indictment charging Jeffrey Leon Battle, Patrice Lumumba Ford, Ahmed Abrahim Bilal, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal, Habis Abdullah Al Saoub and October Martinique Lewis with the same charges filed against Hawash today.
With the exception of Al Saoub, who is a fugitive overseas, the defendants are in custody pending trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2003.
The investigation of this matter was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Portland, Oregon, with the assistance of foreign law enforcement authorities.