The New Mexico judge overseeing the case against five alleged Muslim extremists essentially accused prosecutors of discriminating against Muslims in her Monday court order granting bail to the defendants.
The defendants, Siraj Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj, Jany Leveille, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Lucas Morten, are accused of training children to conduct school shootings. All were granted release on a $20,000 “signature bond” by Judge Sarah Backus on Monday, allowing them to avoid paying any money unless they violate their release terms.
In coming to her decision, Judge Backus wrote that the State of New Mexico “apparently expected the court to take the individuals’ faith into account” in determining whether or not the defendants were a danger to the community.
“The defendants are apparently of the Muslim faith,” read the order. “The Court was asked by the State to make a finding of dangerousness and a finding of no conditions of release could ensure the safety of the community. The State apparently expected the court to take the individuals’ faith into account in making such a determination. The Court has never been asked to take any other person’s faith into account in making a determination of dangerousness. The Court is not aware of any law that allows the Court to take a person’s faith into consideration in making a dangerousness determination.”
“The state alleges there was a big plan afoot but the state has not shown to my satisfaction by clear and convincing evidence what in fact that plan was,” Backus said Monday, CNN reported. “The state wants me to make a leap and it’s a large leap and that would be to hold people in jail without bond based on — again — troubling facts but I didn’t hear any choate plan that was being alleged by the state.”
After authorities discovered 11 emaciated children at the group’s New Mexico compound earlier this month, the defendants were arrested and charged with 11 counts of child abuse. Some of the children were reportedly trained on how to use semi-automatic weapons.
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