Aurora teen terror suspect to remain in custody

May 3, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Abdella Tounisi, 18, is accused of planning to blow up a suburban nightclub. On Thursday, a judge ruled the Aurora teen could be released under home confinement as he awaits trial. But the government appealed that decision.

Tounisi was arrested at O'Hare last month.

He was allegedly on his way to Syria to link up with al Qaeda. Prosecutors say he's a flight risk and a danger to society.

Tounisi is either a good and faithful member of Naperville's Muslim community -- liked by all, his supporters say – or, as the government paints the teenager, he is a budding terrorist with a thirst for blood who was headed to Syria to learn the latest killing tactics.

Regardless of which Tounisi is real, Thursday afternoon a federal judge in Chicago decided that the accused terrorist should be released on bond, a move that prosecutors managed to nullify.

The FBI says Tounisi saw his destiny in Syria, where an escalating civil war has been under way. Nearly a year ago, authorities say the teenager talked to his father about waging holy war.

Federal wiretaps from January recorded Tounisi's parents discussing their son's plans to go to Syria and the need to convince him that he wouldn't die a martyr, but rather as "roadkill."

Then last month, the teenager was arrested at O'Hare headed for Syria with $60 in his pocket.

In court Thursday, U.S. prosecutors said the teenager was going to link up with al-Qaeda fighters and should be held without bond in Chicago because he is a flight risk and a danger to society.

The FBI says Tounisi was in cahoots with another accused teenage terrorist, Adel Daoud, who is charged in a plot to blow up a Chicago bar.

Tounisi allegedly helped Daoud scout locations, among them a nightclub near Naperville that authorities say he was going to bomb.

Tounisi's lawyer -- against a backdrop of his relatives and supporters from the Naperville Islamic Center -- argued that the teenager has no criminal record, no financial resources to flee and is a U.S. citizen.

U.S. Magistrate Daniel Martin, on the bench for less than a year after two decades as a public defender, sided with the defendant. He ordered Tounisi free on a $50,000 signature bond.

Tounisi remained in Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center Thursday night because of federal prosecutors' decision late Thursday to appeal his ordered release.

The FBI says agents interviewed Tounisi last year after Daoud was arrested and that he admitted to helping Daoud's terrorist plot. Daoud is charged in a separate case and is being detained in federal custody without bond.

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