ST. PAUL (WCCO) — A Minnesota woman facing a federal terrorism charge appeared before a federal judge in Saint Paul on Monday.
On Monday morning, prosecutors argued to keep 19-year-old Tnuza Jamal Hassan behind bars pending trial after she was charged with attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida, lying to the FBI and arson.
They say she’s a danger to the community and a flight risk.
The judge agreed with prosecutors and ordered her detained pending the trial. She pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and a trial date of April 16 was set.
New details in federal court documents reveal Hassan not only set fires on the campus of St. Catherine's University, but tried to leave the country twice to join a terror group. She allegedly looked up how to join al-Qaeda online on her laptop.
When she attempted to travel to Afghanistan, authorities say, she left behind her cell phone in a Lyft so she couldn’t be tracked. She also booked her flights separately so that authorities could not track her.
Hassan was arrested after setting several fires on the campus of St. Kate's in January.
Attorneys say she did that because she was angry about U.S. military actions overseas. No one was injured.
She told investigators those fires were acts of jihad, that she hoped her actions would kill innocent people and the community was lucky she didn’t know how to make a bomb.
Prosecutors also say Hassan tried to recruit others to become terrorists as well. Hassan also faces a state arson charge.
If she is found guilty, she could spend up to 48 years in prison for those federal charges alone.