Federal judge postpones student’s release

A USF student facing federal charges for transporting explosives must stay in prison until an order to release him on bond is reviewed by a federal appeals judge.

The family of Youssef Megahed, 21, who was arrested with fellow student Ahmed Mohamed when explosives were found in their car Aug. 4, had raised the $200,000 bond and met all other preconditions required for release, according to court documents filed Thursday by federal prosecutors.

U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth A. Jenkins granted Megahed’s release Friday on the condition he post a $200,000 bond and stay under house arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hoffer argued during the hearing that Megahed represented a danger to the community and was a flight risk. He immediately appealed by Jenkins’ decision.

Thursday, U.S. Magistrate Thomas B. McCoun III granted federal prosecutors’ request for a stay of Jenkins’ release order.

Yahia Megahed, Youssef’s brother, said the family had raised the $200,000 and met all other preconditions set for his release, which included the surrender of all the family’s passports.

Federal public defenders

representing Megahed filed documents stating that the release order’s “stringent conditions are sufficient to ensure Mr. Megahed will appear for all future court


It also states that “the Government’s proffered evidence … merely establishes that Mr. Megahed was a passenger in a vehicle found to have a small quantity of low-grade explosive materials in the trunk.”

Both federal prosecutors and defenders requested a prompt appeals hearing to decide on Jenkins’ release order.

“We want Youssef home as soon as possible,” Yahia said.