The indictment on Tuesday replaces a charge filed by prosecutors last week against Safya Yassin.
Investigators said she’s a sympathizer of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, who posted threats on 97 Twitter accounts against FBI agents, members of the military services, and President Barack Obama.
Yassin was arrested on Feb. 18 as FBI agents raided her Dallas County home on the west side of Buffalo. Agents then spent several hours searching the home. The FBI has been monitoring Yassin’s social media accounts for several months, according to an agent’s affidavit that is the basis of the charge. The agent wrote that she constantly established new accounts and user names when Twitter shut down accounts that had posts that violated its Terms of Service because of the threats.
Yassin appeared in court before a magistrate judge on Tuesday afternoon for preliminary and detention hearings. After hearing testimony from an FBI agent and Yassin’s father, the judge ordered her held without bond for now. The judge said, however, he may consider her defense attorney’s argument that she is not a flight risk because she has a physical disability and has no passport.
According to the defense attorney, Yassin has never been outside of the United States.
The FBI agent testified that Yassin had been under surveillance since last June, which included following her when she left her Buffalo home. The agent also read some of the threatening Twitter messages that he said Yassin allegedly sent:
“What was taken by force, must be taken back by force.”
“Anyone raiding me will be shot on sight.”
“Doesn’t matter if you have a rock…it’s victory or martyrdom.”
“A righteous and noble woman, encourages her husband to Jihad.”
Yassin’s father said his daughter was born in the United States and has never been outside the country. He said she spent most of her time at home. He said he works, so he didn’t know what she did when he was gone. Her father also said Yassin has two juvenile children, one of whom has a disability and is given homeschooling because “he was bullied after September 11th (2001).”
Both children have been in state protective custody since the raid, because Yassin’s father told the court they don’t know where they are.
When Yassin’s house was raided on February 18th, the door was broken down by federal agents. Yassin’s son said his mom was in the basement. At that point she yelled to agents: “I have a knife.” Agents found her in a bedroom, with a knife on the bed, but she surrendered to the FBI.
Here’s the text of the indictment handed up on Tuesday. Yassin could get a prison sentence up to five years, or a fine up to $250,000, or up to three years of supervised release if she’s convicted of interstate threatening communication.
“On or about August 24, 2015, in the Western District of Missouri, and elsewhere, defendant SAFYA ROE YASSIN, with the intent to threaten, and with knowledge that the communication would be viewed as a threat, knowingly transmitted in interstate and foreign commerce via the Internet, a communication containing a threat to injure the person of another, that is, a communication with the explicit phrase “Wanted to kill” followed by the first and last name, status as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, city of residence, zip code, and phone number of Victim 1, and then, in the same communication, repeated the same explicit ‘Wanted to kill’ phrase followed by the first and last name, status as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, city of residence, zip code, and phone number of Victim 2.”
Yassin has lived in the Ozarks in different cities and towns for at least 10 years, according to online records.
Source: Grand jury indicts Buffalo woman suspected of being ISIS sympathizer | Local – Home