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Illinois woman accused of aiding extremists appears in court

February 10, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) — A prosecutor told a federal judge Monday that a suburban Chicago mother of four accused of sending money and military equipment to militant groups in Syria and Iraq poses a danger to the community and is a flight risk, so should remain in custody.

Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34 and one of six Bosnian immigrants charged Friday, raised her fist and smiled at relatives as she appeared at the bond hearing in Chicago. Standing in orange jail clothes and with her hair covered, she also signaled for them to keep their chins up.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole will decide whether to allow the woman to travel on her own to St. Louis, where the case is being handled, or if she will be escorted by U.S. marshals. Cole said he would rule Tuesday.

The defendants are accused of sending money and equipment to organizations the U.S. has deemed as terrorists, including the Islamic State group and Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated rebel group.

Salkicevic works as a cargo handler at O’Hare International Airport, which raises security concerns, prosecutor Angel Krull said. She didn’t elaborate.

Krull also told the court that Salkicevic still has relatives in Bosnia, including her mother and three sisters, increasing the chances of her fleeing abroad.

But defense attorney Andrea Gambino told Cole her client had four children living in the United States. Gambino also said there’s no evidence she poses a danger.

“She is alleged to have transferred money, which is not itself a dangerous act,” she said.

Cole sounded skeptical, citing the indictment as saying Salkicevic expressed pleasure at seeing pictures of sniper scopes and hoping they would be put to good use in Syria.

“The good use is killing people,” Cole said.

Salkicevic faces a maximum 30-year prison sentence if convicted, the judge said. “That’s a powerful... motive to flee,” he added.

The indictment unsealed Friday in St. Louis alleges the six suspects — from Illinois, New York and Missouri — plotted by phone, Facebook and email; sent money via PayPal and Western Union; and shipped boxes of military gear through the U.S. Postal Service.

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