Uzbek Refugee Denies Helping Terror Group

Published February 3, 2012 5:09AM (EST)

DENVER (AP) — A refugee from Uzbekistan accused of helping a foreign terrorist organization denied the allegations in a court appearance Thursday in Denver, before a judge advised him not to speak further without an attorney.

"I swear to Allah I never did anything like that," Jamshid Muhtorov said in Russian, according to a court translator.

Muhtorov, who lives in the Denver suburb of Aurora, said he had been held like a terrorist since his arrest at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Jan. 21.

He was transferred Wednesday to Colorado, where a federal charge was filed accusing him of providing material support and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic Jihad Union. The State Department has designated the group as a foreign terrorist organization.

Two days after his arrest, Muhtorov, 35, made a court appearance in Chicago with a court-appointed attorney, Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Holloway said.

Muhtorov, with closely cut hair, the beginnings of a beard and wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt, was without representation Thursday at his initial federal court appearance in Denver.

When U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tafoya asked if he wanted to hire an attorney, Muhtorov said he hadn't been allowed to talk to his wife or make arrangements to hire anyone since his arrest.

He said if he continued to be treated like that, he'd never have a chance to get an attorney. He said he felt like he'd been treated that way on purpose. He then denied the allegations before Tafoya told him not to say anything more because prosecutors could use anything he said against him.

Tafoya told Muhtorov she would appoint an attorney to defend him. "Thank you very much," he responded in English.

He is being held without bond until an arraignment and detention hearing Tuesday.

Muhtorov requested that he be held in a general cell, with other people, not like a suspected terrorist, but Tafoya said she had no control of where U.S. marshals hold him.

By Salon Staff

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