Attorney Claims Shooting Suspect Was Brainwashed

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Little Rock, AK—The lawyer for a man who is suspected of shooting two men at a military recruitment center claims that his client was brainwashed while imprisoned in Yemen.

Abdulhakim Muhammed is charged with fatally shooting Pvt. William Long, 23, and with wounding Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. His lawyer, Jim Hensley, told CNN that Muhammed had been incarcerated and brainwashed after converting to Islam in a Yemeni prison.

Muhammed, 23, formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe, traveled to Yemen in 2007 to teach English and learn Arabic. While there, he was detained for a visa-related violation and sent to prison, where he encountered a number of radical Islamic fundamentalists. Muhammed claims that during his final few weeks before he was deported in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, he was beaten, interrogated and deprived of sleep and food.

After being released and returning to his home in Nashville, TN, Muhammed began to exhibit behavioral changes, noted his parents. He blamed the United States for some of the suffering he had seen in Yemen, and blaming immigration policy for not allowing him to bring to the U.S. a Yemeni woman he had married while there.

Muhammed carried out the attack on the military recruitment center in Little Rock, where he had moved to help his father set up a branch of the family business. Just prior to the shooting, he was living out of a hotel and driving a sightseeing van.

Hensley claims that his client is a “true American,” and also said that an FBI agent, who had reportedly visited Muhammed in the Yemini prison to interrogate him, contacted him after his release and informed him that the FBI might put him under surveillance. A federal law enforcement official said that Muhammed was being investigated, but a spokesperson for the bureau would not confirm this.

The FBI agent “believed that Carlos was some kind of hardened terrorist hellbent on doing violence to America,” said Hensley.

Authorities are investigating Muhammed’s Internet use to determine whether or not his searches of other American cities might be related to planned attacks on targets in those locations. Hensley denied this, saying that Muhammed was not the sole user of the computer under investigation.

Muhammed is being held under 16 counts of engaging in a terrorist act, for having fired into an occupied building, and one count of capital murder.

 

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