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UPDATE: Muhammad tells AP soldiers need to get out of military

Accused killer Abdulhakim Muhammad says all military personnel are targets for death unless they get out of the armed forces.

Muhammad tells AP soldiers need to get out of military

Accused killer Abdulhakim Muhammad says all military personnel are targets for death unless they get out of the armed forces.

It's the second day in a row Muhammad has violated a gag order in his case by calling the Associated Press on Wednesday and giving an interview.

"I'd rather speak for myself and plead my case and if I'm found guilty and sentenced to death, or found guilty and get life in prison, at least I spoke for myself," Muhammad told the AP Wednesday.

Muhammad, 23, is doing a lot of speaking from the Pulaski County jail.  Calling the AP for the second straight day he warned U.S. soldiers worldwide.

"The battlefield is not just in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Muhammad says.  “A battlefield is anywhere we see you at.  And those people in the Army and those families of the people in the Army and the military and personnel all over the country, if you don't want to die or get shot for this so called war on terrorism, war on Islam, then get out of the Army.  Get out of the Army and don't walk, run."

According to the AP, Muhammed says FBI agents visited him in jail, asking if other attacks are planned. Muhammad told them he isn't aware of any specific plans.  His plan now, defend himself in court.

"I know they're probably going to use this against me in court but I want to speak for myself, I don't want to use a lawyer no more," Muhammad says.  "Now in the question of this country, do I think I will prove my case and win the case?  No, but this is why I decided to talk to the press, to get my point across."

And with his capital murder trial still likely several months away, Muhammad isn't wasting any time.

Muhammad admits to killing Pvt. William Long of Conway and injuring Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville in a shooting outside the Army/Navy recruiting center on Rodney Parham Road in Little Rock.  He faces 17 felony charges, including capital murder.  He does not have a date yet for his next court appearance.

Jegley, judge, say interview violates gag order

Pulaski County prosecutor Larry Jegley tells FOX16 News that Abdulhakim Muhammad violated a gag order when he contacted the Associated Press Tuesday via phone from the county jail. 

The gag order issued Monday from District Judge Alice Lightle reads "all parties, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and their personnel are hereby ordered to refrain from public comment henceforth in matters relating to this case."

Judge Lightle also confirmed to FOX16 News that the gag order includes the defandant.

Jegley filed a motion for the gag order Monday, in part, to ensure Muhammad, 23, would have a right to a fair trial.

Violations of gag orders are typically viewed as contempt of court and can be punishable by jail time and fines.

Soldier shooting suspect tells AP he was justified

By KELLY P. KISSEL
Associated Press Writer
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A Muslim convert charged in the shooting death of an American soldier told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he didn't consider the killing a murder because U.S. military action in the Middle East made the killing justified.

"I do feel I'm not guilty," Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, said in a collect call from the Pulaski County jail. "I don't think it was murder, because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason."

Pvt. William Andrew Long, 23, of Conway - volunteering at the Army-Navy Career Center while awaiting an assignment to South Korea - was shot dead June 1 while smoking a cigarette on a shopping center parking lot. Pvt. Quinton I. Ezeagwula, 18, of Jacksonville was injured.

"Yes, I did tell the police upon my arrest that this was an act of retaliation, and not a reaction on the soldiers personally,"  Muhammad said. He called it "a act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military."

In the interview, Muhammad also disputed his lawyer's claim that he had been "radicalized" in a Yemeni prison and that fellow prisoners that some call terrorists were actually "very good Muslim brothers."

He also said he didn't specifically plan the shootings that morning.  "It's been on my mind for awhile. It wasn't nothing planned really. It was just the heat of the moment, you know," said Muhammad, who was arrested on a crosstown interstate highway shortly after the attack.

Prosecutor Larry Jegley, who on Monday won a gag order in the case, declined to comment specifically on Muhammad's remarks.  "I asked for the gag order to protect Mr. Muhammad's right for a fair trial," Jegley said. "I've never had a situation like this with a gag order and I'm sure Mr. Muhammad's attorney will take
care of it."

Muhammad said he wanted revenge for claims that American military personnel had desecrated copies of the Quran and killed or raped Muslims. "For this reason, no Muslim, male or female, sane or insane, little, big, small, old can accept or tolerate," he said.

He said the U.S. military would never treat Christians and their scriptures in the same manner.  "U.S. soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women. We
believe that we have to strike back. We believe in eye for an eye. We don't believe in turning the other cheek," he said.

Asked whether he considered the shootings at the recruiting center an act of war, Muhammad said "I didn't know the soldiers personally, but yes, it was an attack of retaliation. And I feel that other attacks, not by me or people I know, but definitely
Muslims in this country and others elsewhere, are going to attack for doing those things they did," especially desecrating the Quran.

Last week, defense lawyer Jim Hensley said his client had been tortured and "radicalized" in a Yemeni prison after entering the country to teach English.  "Those claims ... are all lies," Muhammad said Tuesday. "That never happened in Yemen. The officials dealt with me in a gentle way."

Hensley said Tuesday that any information spread by any of the parties since Monday morning would violate the gag order and declined to say whether he would advise his client to remain silent pending a trial.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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