Conn. sisters face terrorism charges


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) – Two sisters face terrorism charges after a white powder believed to be salt fell out of one of their pockets in the booking area of Bridgeport Police headquarters.

A Fairfield woman and her sister, who is from Jordan, were arrested Thursday after triggering a hazardous materials emergency, police said.

The building and the surrounding streets were closed most of the afternoon and into the evening. No one was injured, but 14 people – civilian detention officers, police officers and six prisoners – had to take showers in the Fire Department’s decontamination trailer. Their clothing was also bagged.

The women, Cari Altayeb of Fairfield and Anaahn Altayeb of Jordan, were charged with acts of terrorism in connection with that incident.

They also face charges of first-degree breach of peace and threatening stemming from a child custody dispute in front of the state Department of Children and Families’ city office earlier in the day. The DCF incident had led to their arrest and the powder incident in the booking area. The women were being held in lieu of $1 million bond.

The women’s lawyer, Robert Berke, who said he had not talked to his clients, blasted police Thursday night.

“They overreacted. The (terrorism) charge is extreme. The bond is extreme,” Berke said.

On Thursday, the women were acting suspiciously and dropped white powder, possibly salt, outside of the DCF office, police said.

After they were arrested by city police and brought to the booking area on the second floor, some of the powder fell from one of the women’s pockets, Lt. James Viadero said.

Police called the Fire Department. The Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Team, the FBI, state police and Scott Appleby, the city’s emergency management director, responded.

“We don’t take anything lightly,” Viadero said.

Information from: Connecticut Post,

AP-ES-01-05-07 1305EST