U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) prosecutors say that if convicted of all the charges, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
By Christie Smythe
Somalilandsun – Three men charged with supporting the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab had ties to two suicide bombers from Minnesota; the U.S. says reports Bloomberg News.
The three defendants were “closely associated” with Farah
Mohamed Beledi, a suicide bomber who lived in the Twin Cities and who participated in a 2011 Somalia attack, prosecutors said in a letter filed Wednesday, May 1 in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
Another bomber from Minnesota, Shirwa Ahmed, a 2000 graduate of Roosevelt High School who took part in simultaneous 2008 attacks, was discussed by two of the defendants in detail during intercepted communications, prosecutors said in the filing. Beledi and Shirwa Ahmed were U.S. citizens, according to the document.
The letter, providing supplementary evidentiary material to the defense, was filed in the case of Ali Yasin Ahmed, Madhi Hashi and Mohamed Yusuf. The three were arrested in Africa by local officials in August and taken into U.S. custody in November, according to prosecutors. They were indicted on charges of conspiracy, use of high-powered firearms and providing material support to a foreign terrorist group.
Prosecutors allege that from December 2008 to August, the men participated in weapons and explosives training and a suicide-bomber program with associates of al-Shabaab and were deployed in combat operations to support the group, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for five simultaneous suicide bombings in Somalia targeting the Somaliland and Ethiopian government and the United Nations, prosecutors said. The group also carried out a suicide attack on a government checkpoint in Somalia in 2011, prosecutors said.
The three defendants were originally from Somalia, an attorney for Yusuf, Ephraim Savitt, said previously. Yusuf, formerly a bus driver, grew up in Sweden and is a Swedish citizen, according to Savitt.
Savitt and a lawyer for Ali Yasin Ahmed, Susan Kellman, didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment today. Harry Batchelder Jr., a lawyer for Hashi, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
If convicted of all the charges, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to prosecutors.
The case is U.S. v. Ahmed, 1:12-cr-00661, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
Source: Bloomberg News |