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ATLANTA — A hearing in a terrorism case that was initially scheduled to be closed because it may discuss procedures for disclosing classified information will be open after all, a lawyer for several news organizations said Wednesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn Brill’s office said that while Thursday’s in-chambers pretrial conference in the case against Syed Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee will start out open to the news media, officials reserve the right to close it if it becomes necessary, according to lawyer Thomas Clyde. Brill’s courtroom deputy, Andy Burns, confirmed that at least the beginning of the hearing will be open. The decision was over the objections of prosecutors, who argued anew in court papers Wednesday that the hearing should be closed and a redacted transcript should be provided to the media afterward. The government said that defense lawyers for Ahmed and Sadequee supported the closure of the hearing. Clyde, who represents The Associated Press, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN and WSB-TV, had argued that since classified information was not expected to be disclosed during the hearing, it should be open. Ahmed, 21, and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 20, were indicted July 19 on charges of providing material support to terrorists and related conspiracy counts. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The government has sought heightened secrecy surrounding elements of its case against the men, who are U.S. citizens. Ahmed was born in Pakistan and is a Georgia Tech student. Sadequee was born in Virginia and is of Bangladeshi descent. He has relatives in the Atlanta area. The men are accused of discussing terror targets with Islamic extremists and undergoing training to carry out a “violent jihad” against civilian and government targets, including an air base in suburban Atlanta. The indictment says Ahmed and Sadequee traveled to Washington to film possible targets, including the U.S. Capitol and the headquarters of the World Bank, and shared the recordings with another suspected terrorist based in Britain. Authorities say the men’s motivation for planning attacks was “defense of Muslims or retaliation for acts committed against Muslims.” There has been no allegation that the two men obtained or tried to obtain weapons or explosives to commit terrorism. Thursday’s hearing will be more akin to a status conference in which procedures will be discussed, not substantive evidentiary issues, prosecutors have said.

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