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Jury selection completed in terror trial

DETROIT, March 26 (UPI) -- A jury of four men and 12 women will hear the case against four men accused of providing material support to terrorists.

The weeklong jury selection process was completed Wednesday in the federal trial of Karim Koubriti, Ahmed Hannan, Farouk Ali-Maimoud and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi. The selection process was conducted in secret.

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The panel includes four alternates. The 12 people who will actually deliberate the case will be selected randomly at the end of the trial.

Opening statements were to begin after the jurors received instructions from U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen.

Rosen Monday refused to postpone the trial despite hostilities in Iraq. Defense attorneys had argued jurors could not be fair as a result of the fighting.

"All of us would prefer that we didn't have to begin this trial while our nation remains at war," Rosen said in issuing his decision. "We have the tools to finish the job. We'll press on."

The jurors were selected from a pool of 45 people selected from the original 200 people called for jury duty. The potential jurors had to fill out a 27-page questionnaire that asked such personal questions as whether the jurors spoke Arabic and whether they were members of the National Rifle Association.

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Security for the trial was expected to be tight.

Forged immigration and other documents were found in the Dearborn, Mich., apartment shared by Koubriti, Hannan and Ali-Haimoud. The apartment is in an area home to an estimated 220,000 Arab immigrants and Arab-Americans.

Federal investigators said evidence found in the apartment indicated the men were linked to a holy war against Jews and Christians and included a crude sketch of the U.S. air base at Incirlik, Turkey. Investigators also found identification badges for an airline caterer at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

The apartment had been occupied by Nabil al-Marabh, a former Boston cabbie initially believed linked to al-Qaida. Al-Marabh later was arrested in the Chicago area and deported to Syria after investigators decided he had no terrorism links.

Elmardoudi, who was living in Minneapolis, was accused of planning to help train Muslim "brothers" for attacks. A suspect in a credit card ring arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa implicated him.

The four were among 1,200 people detained in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Most were cleared but at least 750 were charged with immigration violations.

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