DETROIT (WXYZ) - The U.S. government arrested a 22-year old Dearborn Heights man on terrorism charges as he was attempting to fly to Lebanon.
Mohammad Hassan Hamdan was taken into custody Sunday night at Metro Airport before boarding a flight that would taken him to Beirut, Lebanon through Paris, France. The round-trip ticket called for a return to Detroit on May 3 but the government said information obtained during its investigation placed some doubt on his intent to return to the U.S.
The criminal complaint alleges Hamdan was planning to fight for Hizballah in the current conflict in Syria. Hizballah is a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to U.S. law.
The FBI recorded a conversation between Hamdan and a government source where Hamdan outlined his plan to travel to Lebanon and join Hizballah.
Hamdan was born in Lebanon. He came to the U.S. in June of 2007 and is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), according to the complaint.
Hamdan made a brief court appearance on Monday. A detention hearing has been scheduled for March 24. He will remain in custody until then.
Rihab Beydoun, Hamdan's aunt, was in U.S. District Court along with other family members and friends of the man. They told 7 Action News Hamdan is innocent and blame a family dispute for the events that led up to his arrest.
"They would not even take him." said Hamdan's friend Hussein Awda, "He doesn’t even pray. He’s not that religious. He would never do such a thing. He had health problems, he had a bad lung, he’s never held a gun, he’s never shot a gun.”
"They're saying he was going to join the military in Lebanon, maybe he was going to do something bad over there," Beydoun said. "Okay, so what? He didn't do nothing wrong here. He's been here since he was 12 years old and he doesn't even pray, he's not a religion person."
"My client is adamant he is innocent," said Hamdan's attorney Arthur Weiss.
If convicted, Hamdan could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.