Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Student Accused of Lying about Alleged Hijackers Indicted

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Student Accused of Lying about Alleged Hijackers Indicted

Article excerpt

NOTEWORTHY NEWS: Student Accused of Lying About Alleged Hijackers Indicted

A California college student has been accused of lying to a federal grand jury about his association with several of the men thought to be responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

According to an indictment against Osama Awadallah, a 21-year-old student at Grossmont College in El Cajon, Calif., he gave false testimony about his knowledge of Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, whom authorities say were two of the five hijackers aboard the American Airlines flight that crashed into the nation's military headquarters.

Court documents say Awadallah had been studying English as a Second Language at Grossmont since the fall of 2000.

The indictment, handed up in the Southern District of New York, also says the word "Osama" and a phone number that belonged to Awadallah was written on a slip of paper found inside a car registered to al-Hazmi that was abandoned at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.

A search of a car belonging to Awadallah tamed up several videotapes titled "Martyrs of Bosnia," "Bosnia 1993" and "The Koran v. the Bible, Which is God's Word?" A search of his apartment uncovered computer-generated photographs of Osama bin Laden, according to the indictment.

Initially arrested as a material witness on Sept. 23, Awadallah testified before the grand jury on Oct. 10 and Oct. 15. He was charged with two counts of perjury based on that testimony.

In his testimony on Oct. 10, Awadallah said he saw al-Hazmi several times at a gas station, accompanied by a man whose name he did not know, and that he did not know an individual whose fast name was Khalid.

"Maybe he mentioned his name and I didn't catch it or something. Something like that," Awadallah said in excerpts from his testimony included in the indictment. "But after that I didn't catch his or take it again."

Awadallah also said on Oct. 10 that some of the handwriting in one of his exam booklets from Grossmont did not belong to him.

The passage in question says: "I have met many people from many countries. One of the quitest (sic) people I have met is Nawaf. Another one, his name Khalid."

Awadallah said he did not write the phrase "his name Khalid."

"I wouldn't write `Khalid' like that," he said.

During his second round of testimony, Awadallah said all of the words in the exam booklet were his, and that he was sure the man with al-Hazmi at the gas station was al-Mihdhar. …

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