Kenyan Man Arrested And Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison For Funding Al-Shabaab
A Mombasa resident has received a 15-year jail term in the US for conspiring to provide money and recruits to terrorist groups.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said 27-year-old Mohamed Hussain Said pleaded guilty to raising $11,600 (Sh1.2 million) to finance terrorism.
Mr Said admitted that he financed Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Al-Nusrah Front in Syria.
He is said to have received money from co-conspirator Gufran Ahmed Mohammed.
Miami district judge Ursula Ungaro gave Mr Said the maximum sentence.
In the Friday ruling, Ms Ungaro said the groups Mr Said backed had declared war on the US and her overseas interests.
Defence lawyer Silvia Pinera-Vazquez pleaded with the judge to consider handing Mr Said an eight-year sentence.
She argued that her client never engaged in military training and did not target the US.
“His actions demonstrate that the motivation was to assist Al-Shabaab in Africa,” she said.
On Wednesday, assistant attorney Brian Frazier asked the judge to sentence Mr Said and Mr Mohammed to 15 years each in prison.
According to the attorney, Mr Said wanted to assassinate former secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Kenya in 2009.
Mrs Clinton was in Nairobi between August 5 and 8 to take part in the Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Co-operation Forum.
“Allah knows best why nothing happened,” Mr Said is quoted as saying in the conversation with an FBI undercover agent.
However, the documents do not provide evidence that Mr Said took any steps to carry out the killing.
The two were arrested in 2013 in Saudi Arabia. The FBI was monitoring Internet chat rooms frequented by terrorists.
According to the FBI, the pair was active in sites used by Islamic militants.
Agents posing as Al-Shabaab recruiters and fundraisers gathered evidence against Mr Said and Mr Mohammed.
According to Mr Said’s statement, Al-Shabaab recruits were referred to as tomatoes or dogs in the online conversations.
Court documents filed earlier state that Mr Said sought funds from the undercover agent to pay rent for Kenyan fighters under the command of Al-Shabaab leader Godane, alias Abu Zubeir, now dead.
The prosecutor said many of the accused’s plots were captured in FBI recordings and online conversations.
“Mr Said was not just a dreamer but a doer and an operator,” Mr Frazier said.
He accused the Kenyan of attempting to recruit an FBI informer to stage a “lone wolf” attack on US soil.
He said Mr Said told the FBI covert employee in an email that he knew a British citizen who could travel to the US to stage a suicide attack.
“He is willing to join any group and if you want to give him work in the US, like martyrdom, that won’t be a problem,” Mr Said wrote in the email. “I’ll ask him if he wishes to be like those 19 brothers.”