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New York City subway plot suspect pleads not guilty

Suspected terrorist Adis Medunjanin [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Friday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] to charges of participating in a plot to detonate a bomb inside the New York City Subway. In January, Medunjanin pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges that he received terrorist training conspired with Najibullah Zazi [JURIST news archive] last year to hatch the subway bomb plot. Medunjanin, a naturalized American citizen, was arrested [FBI release] earlier this year in connection with an ongoing investigation of Zazi, who allegedly traveled with Medunjanin [Reuters report] and one other individual to Pakistan in 2008 to receive al Qaeda [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive] training, according to prosecutors. He was indicted on additional charges in July.

Mendunjanin was indicted [NYT report] in January. His lawyer has accused authorities of holding and questioning his client without access to his family or legal counsel for 36 hours. Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced charges [JURIST report; press release] against five members of al Qaeda in connection with the plot, broadening the scope of the case to include high-ranking members of the terrorist organization such as Adnan El Shukrijumah, a leader of al Qaeda's external operations program, who is charged with organizing the New York plot for Zazi and his alleged conspirators. Zazi is a native of Afghanistan who was arrested [BBC report] by FBI agents in Colorado. He was originally charged with making false statements to the FBI. In September, he was indicted [indictment PDF; JURIST report] and originally pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. In February, he changed his plea to guilty to three criminal charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in the US and to commit murder in a foreign country, as well as providing material support to al Qaeda.

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