A Bowling Green man accused of traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has requested he be freed on bond while his federal criminal case is pending.
Mirsad Ramic, 33, is under indictment in U.S. District Court on charges of conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, providing material support and resources to ISIS and receiving military-type training from ISIS, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Prosecutors allege that Ramic, a Bosnian national who became a naturalized American citizen, was radicalized and left the U.S. in 2014 with two co-conspirators for Turkey and subsequently paid cash for a flight to a Turkish border city with Syria and crossing the border to join ISIS.
The charges carry a combined maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.
Ramic is alleged to have participated in propaganda and training operations with the organization in Syria before returning to Turkey in 2015, where he was arrested by Turkish authorities and spent several years incarcerated there.
The federal indictment against Ramic was unsealed in 2021, by which time he had been deported from Turkey to the U.S.
Ramic’s attorney, federal public defender Scott Wendelsdorf, said in a detention hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green that Ramic has been held in isolation in Grayson County Detention Center while his criminal case has been pending.
Wendelsdorf sought for Ramic to be released on bond to live with his sister and her family in Bowling Green, arguing that the court can impose conditions to ensure that Ramic will not flee the country or pose a danger to the community while on bond.
During his argument, Wendelsdorf drew a parallel between Ramic’s case and the criminal cases against many defendants charged with federal offenses in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol building, saying that many of the Jan. 6 defendants were granted release on bond even though their cases had identifiable victims.
“We’ve heard a lot about what (Ramic) believes ... there are sitting members of Congress who have advocated for the overthrow of the duly-elected government of the United States,” Wendelsdorf said. “People are accused of assaulting members of law enforcement on Jan. 6 and most of them are free on bond.”
Ramic’s sister, Mirmesa Ramic, offered brief testimony Wednesday in which she said that she would act as third-party custodian if her brother were released on bond, making sure he adhered to all conditions and that he made all required court appearances.
Mirmesa Ramic said no one at her home has a criminal record or a firearm, and that she and her husband were prepared to work separate schedules so that someone would always be at the home with Mirsad Ramic.
Cross-examined by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Judd, Mirmesa Ramic said she had very little contact with her brother after she moved out of her mother’s home, and was not aware at the time of her brother leaving the U.S. until she was subsequently contacted by the FBI.
Judd said that the government has evidence of an attempt by Ramic to enter Yemen in 2010 without an appropriate visa, leading to the FBI interviewing him.
Judd said that Ramic worked to evade detection in 2014 when he traveled from the U.S. to Syria via Turkey, failing to complete a scheduled flight to Sarajevo and instead buying a one-way ticket in Istanbul to the Turkish border city of Gaziantep, from where he crossed into Syria.
During his argument, Judd entered into evidence emails between Ramic and two co-conspirators in which Ramic purportedly discussed using an anti-aircraft weapon to shoot at planes and placing one of the co-conspirators in his will so that he would get Ramic’s belongings if Ramic was killed during jihad.
Judd also provided the court two pictures Ramic allegedly sent to his mother, one of which purports to show him in camouflage uniform in front of a truck equipped with an anti-aircraft gun and carrying a black ISIS flag.
The other picture shows Ramic seated on the ground, wearing a head covering and holding a rifle, Judd said.
“Mr. Ramic has a long history of radicalized ideology that supports jihadism,” Judd said in court. “He was able to join ISIS in Syria, where he engaged in propaganda and received training as a fighter ... Mr. Ramic is a trained and seasoned jihadist who poses a threat to the community.”
Wendelsdorf responded that Ramic does not pose a flight risk since he no longer has a passport and he also challenged the government’s case against Ramic.
“The government did not put a single victim at the feet of Mr. Ramic,” Wendelsdorf said. “I beseech the court not to fall victim to this puppet show. Don’t look at what he believes, look at what he’s done.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Brent Brennenstuhl said he would issue a written ruling at a future date.