Yemen-born man denied bail after threat to NY Post [Archives:2005/846/Local News]

May 30 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Yemen-born Manhattan newsstand owner accused of threatening to blow up the New York Post newspaper's offices for publishing photographs of Saddam Hussein in his underwear was denied bail on Friday by a New York judge.

Nagi Nashal, 53, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was arrested by New York City police on Saturday on charges of making a terrorist threat against the newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Nashal's attorney, Melvin Greenwald, said he had known his client for 25 years and insisted he was “of good character.”

But Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Anthony Ferrera denied bail, saying: “He threatened to blow up the New York Post.”

“He can't threaten to blow up a major paper because they used a photograph of Saddam Hussein in his underwear,” the judge said.

A state law enacted days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks makes making such telephone calls a felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Greenwald said his client “was misunderstood” and that the call to the tabloid “was “misinterpreted.”

The judge dismissed that assertion: “They traced the phone call back to him, for God's sake. What's not to understand? You tell me how that could be misinterpreted?”

According to the indictment, Nashal has lived in the United States for more than two decades and called the newspaper's circulation office on Saturday morning with the threat.

“I am very upset with the photos of Saddam Hussein in the Post. How dare you disgrace my people. I will come down there and blow up the building,” Nashal is said to have told the newspaper, according to the indictment.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Adam Kauff said Nashal then tried to cover up his actions by fabricating a story that a taxi driver who had visited his Manhattan candy store had instead made the threatening call.

Pictures showing the former Iraqi ruler clad in his underwear were published in tabloid newspapers in New York and London on May 20. The Pentagon responded by declaring that their release was unauthorized and launching an investigation to find out who did it.