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Suspect opts for judge

POSTED: May 27, 2009 4:00 a.m.

A Dawsonville man accused of plotting “violent jihad” on American targets has waived his right to a jury trial.

  

Syed Haris Ahmed, a former Georgia Tech student whose parents own a home in Dawson County, said during a pretrial hearing last week that he preferred a federal judge hear his case rather than a jury.

  

The 24-year-old said he thought the judge would be more impartial than “normal people,” according to federal court records.

  

U.S. Judge Bill Duffey granted the request. The trial is scheduled to begin June 1 in Atlanta.

  

In what was described as the state’s first documented case of international terrorism, federal agents arrested Ahmed in March 2006.

  

Agents said Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee, 22, of Roswell, discussed terror targets with Islamic extremists and attempted to travel to Pakistan to receive training to carry out a “violent jihad” against civilian and government targets.

  

Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta was on the list of possible targets, authorities have said.

  

The men’s motivation for planning attacks was “defense of Muslims or retaliation for acts committed against Muslims,” according to court documents.

  

Ahmed and Sadequee, who are both U.S citizens, have pleaded not guilty.

  

Sadequee faces trial in August.

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