Parents of alleged U.S. terrorist testify

Jan. 29, 2013 at 1:39 PM
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PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- The parents of a man accused of trying to set off a bomb in Portland, Ore., said they spoke to the FBI because they feared for their son if he went to Somalia.

The testimony of Mohamed Mohamud's parents -- Osman and Miriam Barre -- came on the 11th day of his trial after the prosecution rested its case. He is accused of trying to detonate a bomb at the Nov. 26, 2010, holiday tree-lighting ceremony in downtown Portland.

Mohamud's parents, who were separated, recounted for the jury Monday the fear they felt Aug. 31, 2009, when they thought their son was returning to Somalia, which they fled in the early 1990s, and would be in harm's way, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

Osman Barre testified about contacting the FBI, seeking the bureau's help, The Oregonian said. The agents asked him questions about terrorism, but Osman Barre told them he had nothing to hide.

Osman Barre also testified his son later said he wanted to go to Yemen to study, but he convinced the youth to wait until after he graduated high school, The Oregonian said.

The parents testified about learning their son was on a no-fly list when they were in an airport trying to go to Alaska for a fishing trip, and recalled being notified the FBI had arrested their son, whom they described as a happy-go-lucky child who was into sports and an avid reader.

Jurors also heard from former classmates, teachers and a co-worker of Mohamud, who described him as a funny person who exhibited no penchant for Islamic extremism.

The defense also called its first expert witness, a Georgetown psychology professor who testified two undercover agents, posing as terrorists to befriend Mohamud in the FBI sting, appeared to have insinuated their way into his life and isolated him from friends and family.

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