nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Ahmed (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 15, 2016) (material support sentencing)

January 15, 2016

See below for the press release:

WASHINGTON – Ali Yasin Ahmed, aka Ismail, 31, and Mohamed Yusuf, aka Abu Zaid, Hudeyfa and Mohammed Abdulkadir, 33, were each sentenced to 11 years in prison by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York for conspiring to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The sentences were announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York and Assistant Director in Charge Diego Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office.

As stated in court today and according to court documents, between approximately December 2008 and August 2012, the defendants served as members of al-Shabaab in Somalia, where they supported al-Shabaab and its extremist agenda. In early August 2012, the defendants were apprehended in East Africa by local authorities while on their way to Yemen. On Nov. 14, 2012, the FBI took custody of the defendants and brought them to the Eastern District of New York for prosecution. They pleaded guilty on May 12, 2015.

“Ahmed and Yusuf travelled to Somalia to fight on behalf al-Shabaab as part of the terrorist organization’s cadre of foreign fighters,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “The National Security Division remains committed to identifying, disrupting and holding accountable all who seek to provide material support to and fight on behalf of designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

“These defendants left their adopted European homes to support al-Shabaab, a violent terrorist organization that has demonstrated its capabilities and motives in numerous terrorist attacks overseas and has publicly called for attacks against the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Capers. “Today’s significant sentences reflect the seriousness of the defendants’ criminal conduct and will serve as a strong deterrent to others considering the path to violence.”

“The guilty plea and sentencing of these men for providing material support to al-Shabaab, demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment and leadership in prosecuting persons whose intention is to violently assault societies different than their own,” said Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez. “We remain steadfast in identifying and stopping such attacks. We will continue to work within the framework of the U.S. justice system to hold terrorists accountable for their malicious intentions and criminal actions. Special thanks to all our law enforcement and intelligence community partners on the JTTF, whose joint efforts keep us safe. We are also grateful for the international cooperation we received to bring these terrorism subjects to justice.”

The defendants, both naturalized Swedish citizens, traveled to Somalia intending to wage violent jihad on the U.N.-sanctioned African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali government forces that were attempting to bring stability to that war-torn country. Once in Somalia, the defendants participated in numerous attacks on government forces. Yusuf is featured in an al-Shabaab propaganda video in which he encourages young men to travel to Somalia and join al-Shabaab and threatened a cartoonist who had depicted the prophet Mohammad. A third defendant, Madhi Hashi, is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 29, 2016.

Assistant Attorney General Carlin joined U.S. Attorney Capers in thanking the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who participate in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shreve Ariail, Seth D. DuCharme and Richard M. Tucker of the Eastern District of New York, along with Trial Attorney Annamartine Salick of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Trial Attorney Shanna Batten of the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and Dan Stigall of the National Security Division also provided invaluable assistance.

nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Al-Yajab (E.D.Cal. Jan. 14, 2016) (indictment)

January 15, 2016

A week ago I posted on al-Jayab’s arrest, including the criminal complaint making a false statement charge. There is now an indictment, and despite my prediction of a material support charge there is still just a false statement charge. Looking over the allegations, it’s clear the government is alleging he provided material support to a terrorist organization…it is possible, of course, that the entity in question was not at that time on the State Department’s DFTO (Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization) list, thus precluding a 2339B charge. At any rate, I’ve attached the new indictment, and the press release is below:


WASHINGTON – A grand jury in Sacramento, California, returned an indictment today charging Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, of Sacramento, with one count of making a false statement involving international terrorism, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California announced.

Al-Jayab is in custody and is scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 22, 2016, at 2:00 PM PST before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman of the Eastern District of California. He was arrested by criminal complaint on Jan. 7, 2016.

According to the indictment, on Oct. 6, 2014, Al-Jayab was interviewed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and indicated that he had not ever: been a member of any rebel group or militia; provided material support for any person or group engaged in terrorist activity; and been a member of a group, or assisted in a group, which used or threatened the use of weapons against others. Al-Jayab also allegedly stated during the interview that he had traveled to Turkey in late 2013 and early 2014 to visit his grandmother. The indictment alleges that all of the aforementioned statements are false.

If convicted, Al-Jayab faces a maximum statutory penalty of eight years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the Sacramento Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Thomas of the Eastern District of California and Trial Attorney Andrew Sigler of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The investigation is ongoing.


Al-Jayab Indictment.pdf