* United States v. El-Hanafi (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 14, 2010) (superseding indictment)
New charges today in the prosecution of Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff, two U.S. citizens who allegedly became involved with al Qaeda over the past two years. The charges include conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda in the form of “computer advice and assistance, services, currency, and physical assets” (in violation of 18 USC 2339B); actually providing and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda in the form of “currency and physical assets…[and] financial support, equipment, and technical advice”; conspiracy to provide services to al Qaeda in the form of “money, equipment, and technological advice” (in violation of 50 USC 1705 – the International Emergency Economic Powers Act); and actually providing such services to al Qaeda. Details from the press release follow below, and the superseding indictment is attached:
NEW YORK – Additional terrorism charges were filed today in a superseding indictment against U.S. citizens Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff for allegedly providing material support, including money and computer assistance, to al-Qaeda, announced Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The original indictment, which was unsealed on April 30, 2010, charged El-Hanafi and Hasanoff with conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda. The superseding indictment contains three additional charges, including providing material support to al-Qaeda and violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act in connection with their alleged support of al Qaeda.
According to the superseding indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, in February 2008, El-Hanafi traveled to Yemen, where he met with two members of al-Qaeda. While in Yemen, El-Hanafi swore an oath of allegiance to al-Qaeda, received instructions from al-Qaeda on operational security measures and received assignments to perform for al-Qaeda.
Three months later, in May 2008, El-Hanafi met with another individual (CC-1) in Brooklyn, N.Y., to discuss CC-1 also joining al-Qaeda. Hasanoff – who had previously received $50,000 from CC-1 – and El-Hanafi had additional discussions with CC-1 about joining al-Qaeda. During about the same time period, El-Hanafi purchased a subscription for a software program that enabled him to communicate securely with others over the internet.
In June 2008, El-Hanafi directed CC-1 to perform various tasks for al-Qaeda. And at that time, Hasanoff instructed CC-1 not to use his U.S. passport when traveling because a U.S. passport with fewer immigration stamps would be more valuable to al-Qaeda.
Additionally, in August 2008, Hasanoff traveled to New York City where he performed assignments for al-Qaeda. The following year, in April 2009, El-Hanafi purchased seven Casio digital watches over the internet on behalf of al-Qaeda and had them delivered to his residence in Brooklyn.
El-Hanafi, 33, is a U.S. citizen who was born and lived in Brooklyn. Hasanoff, 34, is a dual citizen of the United States and Australia, who also resided in Brooklyn.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood and the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the superseding indictment on Sept. 16, 2010, at 10:30 A.M. EDT.