PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland man arrested on charges of aiding a deadly terror attack in Pakistan can be released pending his trial, a U.S. judge ruled Wednesday.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, was arrested at his home Tuesday on charges of providing support to a suicide bomber who participated in the 2009 attack that killed about 30 people and injured another 300.
Khan is expected to be placed under electronic home confinement on Thursday, assuming he posts $25,000 bond and discloses his assets to the judge. He will only be allowed to leave for religious purposes and work.
Khan, a wastewater treatment plant operator for the city of Portland, has pleaded not guilty. Trial was set for May 7. A decision on his employment has not been made.
On Wednesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight said the charge against Khan, which carries the possibility of a life sentence, along with Khan's connections in Pakistan, make him more likely to flee after being charged.
"There are no conditions that can assure his appearance," Knight said. "This defendant has significant ties overseas. (Surrendering his passport) does not eliminate his risk of flight."
But Khan's attorney, Amy Baggio, said Khan has been a good employee of the city who has gone along with the investigation despite knowing that he could be charged. He was indicted on the charges on Dec. 28.
"He didn't run away when he heard this was happening," Baggio said.
The defense attorney also pointed out that Khan has strong family ties. He moved to the United States from Pakistan 22 years ago and lives with his wife and three kids. The attorney argued that it proves Khan isn't a flight risk.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Papak ruled that conditions could be placed that ensure Khan would not flee. Prosecutors asked for a review of Papak's decision, so a second hearing before a district judge was scheduled for later Wednesday to decide Khan's final detention status.
Slender, with a black-and-white beard several inches long, Khan appeared in court in a blue jail uniform looking haggard and tired.
On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales issued a statement outlining Khan’s history with working for the city of Portland. The statement said Khan has been a wastewater operator with the city since 2005. He is represented by a union and makes $60,091 a year.
The previous night, the mayor issued a separate statement, decrying the terrorist attack but imploring people to remember the charges against Khan are allegations at this point.
“The deplorable act of triggering a bomb at a federal building in Lahore resulted in approximately 30 deaths and 300 injuries,” Hales said in the statement. ”However, we should all remember that the charges contained in Mr. Khan's indictment are allegations only, and that Mr. Khan is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
“This week's arrest brings home the reality that worldwide headlines can resonate right here in Portland,” Hales added.
The indictment charging Khan outlines a nearly four-year correspondence between Khan and a Maldivian national, Ali Jaleel, who was behind the suicide attack. It alleges between Dec. 14, 2005, and June 2, 2009, Khan conspired with Jaleel to provide material support and resources.
The May 27, 2009, attack at the headquarters of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence headquarters in Lahore killed 30 people and injured 300 others.
KATU News Reporter Dan Tilkin contributed to this report.