S.C. drops charges against USF students

09/04/07 Mitch E. Perry
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A South Carolina prosecutor says that with a federal indictment already in place, state charges will be dismissed against two Egyptian-born USF students who were stopped last month with what authorities said were pipe bombs.

Ahmed Abda Sherf Mohamed, 24, and Yousef Samir Megahed, 21, were arrested on state charges of possession of an explosive device following an Aug. 5 traffic stop in Goose Creek.

The men told police they had fireworks in the car and were driving through the area to vacation at a North Carolina beach. But Scarlett Wilson, a prosecutor for Charleston and Berkeley counties in South Carolina, said at an arraignment that the devices were pipe bombs.

The students were indicted on federal charges of carrying explosive materials across state lines. Mohammed also faces terrorism-related charges for allegedly demonstrating how to use the explosives.

Civil liberties attorney David Cole told WMNF’s Rob Lorei that he’s only been observing the plight of the students via media reports, but says the public needs to be skeptical about government claims.

The two students are expected to make an initial appearance in federal court in Charleston as early as this week. Wilson said the state charges will be dismissed once plans to move the men to federal custody have been finalized.

Incidentally, David Cole will be in Tampa Thursday night, in a forum co-sponsored by WMNF. That’s scheduled to take place at the Channelside Movie Theatres at 7 p.m.

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