USF students indicted in Tampa08/31/07 Seán Kinane
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In Tampa today, a federal grand jury indicted the two University of South Florida students who have been in prison since being arrested in South Carolina earlier this month.
Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed, both originally from Egypt, were charged with the transport of explosive materials across state lines. If convicted, they each face 10 years in prison.
Mohamed was charged with a second count, sharing information about how to manufacture a destructive device with the intent that the information will be used in, “an activity that constitutes a federal crime of violence.” A conviction on that charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
CNN reported the students planned to blow up model cars the size of a breadbasket.
USF has provisionally suspended both students, according to Ken Gullette, a USF spokesperson.
Gullette said the students did not have explosives on campus.
Mohamed's new attorney, Lionel Lofton told the Tampa Tribune, "I'm confident that he's not guilty of these charges."
Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and co-host of the WMNF program True Talk, spoke with WMNF this afternoon.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the grand jury was seeking DNA and hair samples from Megahed and that several Tampa residents had been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. One of those is Bedier, who described his experiences before the grand jury at the Federal Courthouse in Tampa.
Calls to the Tampa office of the FBI were not returned by airtime.