Indian-American Man Charged with Firebombing Synagogues

Some community members say Aakash Dalal is being treated like a terrorist

By Carla Murphy Mar 04, 2014

A complex case is unfolding in New Jersey that’s pitting some members of the Indian-American community against their county prosecutors. Pre-trial motions are underway, according to The Record, in the case of a 21-year-old Indian-American man accused of taking part in the firebombing of Jewish facilities two years ago. Supporters of Aakash Dalal, according to New York-based weekly, News India Times, allege that he is being treated like a terrorist and last week rallied community members to protest his multi-million-dollar bail and treatment. The former Rutgers student, according to the weekly, has been held in solitary confinement in an 8×6 cell for the past two years.

Aakash Dalal is accused along with co-defendant Anthony Graziano, 23, of firebombing synagogues and other Jewish facilities. In one of the attacks, Graziano is accused of throwing Molotov cocktails into the living quarters of Congregation Beth El in Rutherford, where a rabbi lived with his family. They escaped unharmed. Prosecutors say Dalal used electronic communication to plan the attacks and encourage Graziano to set several facilities on fire.

In addition to arson, conspiracy and bias intimidation, Dalal faces additional charges tacked on after arrest in 2012, for conspiring to murder the assistant prosecutor then handling the case.

Dalal’s parents, on advice of their attorney, according to the weekly, did not share details of the case during last week’s community meeting. Both men face up to life in prison if convicted.

Read the latest on The Star Ledger.

(h/t Voices of NY)