Indian student arrested in U.S. after threats to be released

SEATTLE Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:45am IST

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A University of Washington student charged in federal court with making threatening comments over the Internet, including pledging to kill women and praising a California rampage gunman, will be released on bond on Friday, a judge ruled on Thursday.

But Keshav Mukund Bhide, a 23-year-old Indian national living in the United States on a student visa, will be required to wear a GPS monitor ankle bracelet, pending his trial and was ordered to stay away from the university campus.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Alice Theiler told Bhide he would not be allowed to use any device with Internet access and ordered him to surrender his passport. He also will need a chaperone when he leaves his home, and will have to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Bhide was arrested on June 14 after police were tipped off to threatening online comments he made on YouTube and Google+, which investigators found included praise for 22-year-old California gunman Elliot Rodger, authorities said.

Rodger killed six students and wounded 13 other people last month near the University of California at Santa Barbara before taking his own life. He left behind videos and writings expressing sexual frustration and revealing his plans to kill women.

"Everything Elliot did is perfectly justified," Bhide wrote under an account with the name "Foss Dark," according to court documents. Police said Bhide also chatted with other Internet users, including one who requested his name and residence.

"I live in Seattle and go to UW, that's all (I'll) give you. (I'll) make sure I kill only women, and many more than what Elliot accomplished," he replied, according to court papers.

Bhide told FBI agents and police who went to his home that he was angry with YouTube videos created by Internet users critical of Rodger, according to the federal complaint.

"Bhide stated that he, like Rodger, had a hard time socializing at school and had few friends," an FBI special agent said in the complaint.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Andrew Munoz said Bhide's student visa will stay in effect as long as he remains enrolled at the University of Washington, but that could change if he is convicted of a serious crime.

If he is found guilty of the federal charge of interstate threats, after completing his sentence he could be brought before an immigration judge to determine if he should be deported, Munoz said.

Bhide’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 3.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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