(Xinhua) A man living near Los Angeles has been ordered detained in federal custody for failing to reveal family ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations when he applied for U.S. citizenship, it was reported on Saturday.

Ahmadullah Sais Niazi of Afghan origin was taken into custody by agents of the Orange County Joint Terrorism Task Force at his home on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Niazi, whose brother-in-law is designated as an Al Qaeda terrorist, is charged with misstating facts in his U.S. citizenship application. If proved guilty, he could face up to 35 years in prison, the paper said.

But the defendant accused federal agents of blackmailing him and forcing him to be an informant, said the paper.

‘I was blackmailed. I did not do what they told me to do,’ he told reporters when appearing in the courtroom after the arrest. ‘I want justice. I want fairness … The people need to know.’

The five-count indictment accuses Niazi of lying on his naturalization application, procuring naturalization unlawfully, using a passport procured by fraud and making a false statement, according to the paper.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant, Niazi, who was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, failed to reveal that his sister is married to Amin al-Haq, who has allegedly served as a bodyguard for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Al-Haq was designated as a specially designated global terrorist by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

That designation froze all of al-Haq’s assets in the United States, according to the affidavit.

Around March 8, 2001, the United Nations Security Council declared that al-Haq is associated with Al Qaeda and bin Laden, according to the indictment.

A search warrant unsealed alleges that Niazi and his wife, according to documents seized, used a ‘hawala,’ an unlicensed money transfer system often used by people from Afghanistan and Pakistan, to transfer money from one country to another.

That system can be used legitimately, but is also exploited by those seeking to avoid U.S. regulations applied to financial remittance systems, according to the search warrant.

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