Mediha Salkicevic, Schiller Park terror suspect, appears in federal court

ABC7 I-Team Investigation

Chuck Goudie Image
Monday, February 9, 2015
Schiller Park terror suspect appears in court
The 34-year-old woman raised her fist and smiled at relatives when she appeared in federal court in Chicago on Monday.

SCHILLER PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- An attorney for a suburban Chicago woman accused of helping extremist groups in Syria is asking that she be released. The 34-year-old woman raised her fist and smiled at relatives when she appeared in federal court in Chicago on Monday.

Mediha Medy Salkicevic, a Bosnian native, has been in federal custody since she was arrested Friday afternoon. Prosecutors say she is a danger and a flight risk, with both of her parents overseas. Because of that and her suspected ties to ISIS, authorities want U.S. Marshals to escort her to St. Louis where the terrorism charges were filed.

Salkicevic, a mother of four, was seen at a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Chicago last summer. Federal authorities now say Salkicevic did more than just protest. On Monday in federal court, she stood before a judge on charges that she funneled money and battlefield supplies to Islamic State terrorists in Syria.

Sporting a wide grin during the hearing, Salkicevic blew kisses to her supporters in the gallery until a court deputy ordered her to stop.

The charge of providing material support to foreign terrorists carries a potential 30-year prison sentence and U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole said that was a "profound and powerful motive to flee." Prosecutors also said that while she lives in this Schiller Park apartment building, Salkicevic is building a house in Bosnia that could be an incentive to take off. Her attorney disagrees.

"We don't think she needs to be in detention. Innocent until proven guilty means just that. An indictment is what the government thinks happened, sometimes they're right and sometimes they're wrong," said Andrea Gambino, attorney for terror suspect.

According to the lawyer, Salkicevic works at O'Hare Airport with Alliance Ground International - a large air freight company - where she is said to be a late night shift supervisor who works seven days a week in a secured section of the airport just a few minutes from her apartment.

"I'm kind of surprised and a little bit shocked about it but I'm also relieved that the people in charge are actually doing their job to make sure people like this are brought to justice," said Chris Trasatti, suspect's neighbor.

"I always thought it was a good neighborhood but I guess you never know who's living around you," said Artur Wojcik, suspect's neighbor.

The suspect's employer at O'Hare has not answered repeated requests from the I-Team for information.

Judge Cole says he will reconvene in federal court on Tuesday morning to announce his decision about whether she will be allowed out on bond.

Salkicevic and six others are accused of raising thousands of dollars through social media. Federal prosecutors say they used the money to buy weapons, uniforms and other military items to mail to ISIS fighters.

She's facing prosecution in Missouri, where the group allegedly bought the military equipment.