US soldier pleads not guilty to support for Islamic State
HONOLULU (AP) — A U.S. Army soldier based in Hawaii pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of attempting to support the Islamic State group.
Sgt. 1st Class Ikaika Kang was arraigned in federal court in Honolulu after a grand jury indicted him last week on four counts of attempting to provide material support to the group.
The indictment and an FBI affidavit filed previously allege that Kang met with undercover agents he believed were part of the Islamic State group. He allegedly provided them with classified military information, a drone, military equipment and training in combat fighting.
Kang may suffer from service-related mental health issues that the government was aware of but neglected to treat, his defense attorney, Birney Bervar has said.
Bervar is seeking a mental health evaluation for Kang, whose trial was set for September.
When Kang met with the undercover agents he thought were from the Islamic State group at a home in Honolulu, he pledged allegiance to the group and kissed an Islamic State flag, according to court documents.
“Kang’s military training, weapons abilities and personal combat skills, coupled with his strong stated desire to kill people in the name of Islamic State, makes him one of the more dangerous criminal defendants to have been charged in this judicial district,” prosecutors wrote in a motion asking that be held without bail.
A judge previously granted the request for no bail.
In a separate case, a 22-year-old California man has been charged with attempting to support terrorism by allegedly using social media to promote the Islamic State group and offering to join the organization, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors allege Amer Sinan Alhaggagi “went so far as to meet with undercover agents on multiple occasions to plan a potential terrorist attack,” said a court filing unsealed Friday.
His defense lawyer told the San Francisco Chronicle that the allegations are baseless and stem from idle talk in late-night internet chat rooms.