McLEAN, Va. — A radical Muslim convert from Virginia serving a 25-year sentence for supporting terrorism is suing the FBI and his own mother, saying they should not have interfered with his parental rights by taking custody of his infant son.
Zachary Chesser pleaded guilty in 2010 to trying to join the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia. He was arrested at the airport with his baby after telling his wife the infant would make him appear less suspicious. The baby's mother pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about her husband's plans, and agreed to leave the country.
Their boy is now 5 years old and at the center of a federal appeals case being heard Thursday in Richmond.
Chesser says the FBI should not have tipped off his mother about the couple's plans to have the boy raised in Jordan by his wife. Instead, agents prevented the boy from leaving, and Chesser's mother won full custody.
FBI lawyers say the agents did nothing wrong.