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Woman Sentenced for Providing Support to Foreign Terrorists

This news story was published on December 12, 2012.
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SAN DIEGO—Nima Yusuf, 25, received a custodial sentence of eight years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiring to provide material support to al Shabaab, a foreign terrorist organization, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced today.

As part of her guilty plea, Yusuf admitted that she conspired with Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, Abdisalan Hussein Ali, Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, and Abdiweli Yassin Isse to provide material support to al Shabaab in the form of money and personnel to work under the direction and control of al Shabaab. Yusuf pleaded guilty in December 2011 and has been in custody since her arrest in November 2010.

Yusuf admitted to sending approximately $1,450 to these men, who were then fighting in Somalia for al Shabaab, and to lying to federal agents about her financial support for these fighters. According to court documents, Yusuf also tried to help Faraax recruit a local man to go and fight for al Shabaab. According to these documents, Yusuf understood and supported al Shabaab’s military efforts. When Faraax told Yusuf in an April 2010 phone call that al Shabaab had completed a successful “martyrdom operation” in which Burundian peacekeeping troops were killed, Yusuf responded, “Oh my God. God is great. Wonderful. I swear to God, you told me something to be happy about.”

U.S. Attorney Duffy stated, “The law forbids the provision of financial support to foreign terrorist organizations. We encourage community members to remain vigilant and to alert the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Joint Terrorism Task Force of any individuals providing support, financial or otherwise, to terrorist organizations.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daphne Hearn commented, “The FBI and our law enforcement partners are committed to keeping this country and our communities safe. We will aggressively pursue those who choose to send money or other resources to organizations that support terrorist acts. This is a serious crime against our country and our citizenry, and those who engage in these practices will meet the consequences of their actions in our judicial system.”

According to court documents, in a March 2010 phone call, Yusuf suggested that America was responsible for the 9/11 attacks and expressed hope for an even greater catastrophe in the future: “Oh. It will be happening again. Trust me, more this time it will be double…triple their deaths. [Laughter.]”

Hassan, Ali, Faarax, and Isse are charged separately in a federal grand jury indictment in Minnesota for conspiring to provide material support to al Shabaab, among other offenses. The Minnesota indictment also charges Faarax with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, based on his alleged recruitment of three other men to travel from the United States to Somalia to fight for al Shabaab, one of whom is believed to have carried out a suicide bombing on al Shabaab’s behalf in or about October 2008.

Al Shabaab is a terrorist organization based in Somalia, with objectives including the overthrow of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), the elimination of African Union support for the TFG, and the imposition of Shari’a law in Somalia. Al Shabaab has engaged in, and used, violence, intimidation, and acts of terrorism, including suicide bombings, in Somalia and elsewhere to further its objectives.

This case was prosecuted in federal court in San Diego by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sabrina Feve and John Parmley. This case was investigated by the San Diego Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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