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Syrian, Indonesian appear on immigration charges

By Brad Wright
CNN Washington

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) -- An Indonesian man charged with helping obtain false identification for a suspected contact of Osama bin Laden appeared Friday in U.S. District Court on false documentation charges.

Prosecutors said Agus Budiman, 31, a native of Indonesia, lied about his residence as he attempted to help Indonesian Mohammed Bin Nasser Belfas, 29, obtain a Virginia driver's license.

Both Budiman and Belfas are among 370 names included on an FBI list of people sought for questioning in the investigation of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, according to The Associated Press. The list was released last month by Finnish banking authorities.

Budiman is identified on the list as a U.S. contact for Mohammed Atta, the presumed ringleader of the 19 hijackers. Belfas is identified as a contact for bin Laden, the suspected mastermind of the attacks.

Belfas, who is not in custody, is also listed as a resident of Hamburg, Germany, where authorities have said the attacks of September 11 may have been planned.

Because Budiman did not have a lawyer, Judge Curtis Sewell said the court would appoint one. Until a detention hearing is held Monday afternoon, Budiman will remain in jail.

A prosecution affidavit accuses Budiman of overstaying his visa and admitting to taking a job illegally as a delivery driver. However, Ivan Yacub, a lawyer who has represented Budiman in his immigration case, said Budiman had obtained a professional visa which allowed him to work as an architect for a Chantilly, Virginia, construction firm.

In another case heard in District Court, a Syrian man, Hadir Awad, also known as Sameer Esa Khatib, was remanded into the custody of U.S. Marshals.

A criminal complaint accused Awad of borrowing a passport from a friend in Germany and using it to enter the United States illegally in December 1999. Neither of Awad's names appears on a terrorist watch list. Awad's lawyer, Greg English, said authorities also may question the legitimacy of Awad's marriage as a means of establishing a basis for continued U.S. residency.



Greta@LAW

 
 
 
 



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