Wesam El-Hanafi, convicted of helping al Qaeda, gets 15-year sentence in New …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Al Qaeda ‘tech-geek’ gets 15 years for plotting attack on NYSE.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New Yorker who sent $67,000 to al-Qaida and pledged his support to the terror group was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison by a judge who cited the defendant’s remorse and medical problems that make his incarceration more difficult than others’. “I didn’t just make the wrong choices. Officials said that Wesam El-Hanafi, 39, helped trained terrorists in Yemen, provided money to al Qaeda and scouted the New York Stock Exchange as the scene of a possible terrorist attack. “Wesam El-Hanafi was deeply involved in supporting al Qaeda both financially and by facilitating surveillance of a New York landmark to bring an attack to our homeland in our city,” said Preet Bharara, U.S.

Wesam El-Hanafi provided video cameras, computers, encryption technology and even remote control cars that could be converted into bombs to an Al Qaeda operative in Yemen. “He was living the American dream. Wesam El-Hanafi’s effort to fight for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Somalia was rejected by the group’s leadership in Yemen, which instead sent him and his co-defendant Sabirhan Hasanoff back to New York, Assistant U.S. But Manhattan federal Judge Kimba Wood cut the 39-year-old some slack, saying he’s expre ssed “remorse” for “blindly following” al Qaeda’s ideology and “has suffered considerably” in custody since his April 2010 surrender from deep vein thrombosis – a disease that creates painful blood clots in the legs.

Attorney John Cronan said El-Hanafi from 2007 to late 2009 “worked tirelessly to support al-Qaida” by contributing tens of thousands of dollars, by sending a remote-control toy car whose components could be used in an explosive device and by providing technical advice about computers, including encryption software so information could be transmitted without being detected. El-Hanafi, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to two counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy, faced up to 20 years behind bars.

El-Hanafi met with two al Qaeda members in Yemen in 2008, and he taught them how to modernize the terror network’s IT capabilities and also bought seven Casio digital watches, potentially to use as timers for terrorist bombs. That is what I choose.” Security forces across Europe have been fanning out in a bid to round up Islamic State extremists, following murders of 17 people in three days of attacks in and around Paris, including nine journalists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. As a result, they said, he will suffer pain and limited mobility for the rest of his life. “The executive branch of the United States government has given Mr. Since the plea, lawyers have spent considerable time submitting evidence and arguing over medical problems El-Hanafi has developed, including a condition that makes it possible that blood clots will develop. As many as 20 sleeper cells with a total of 120 to 180 people could be ready to strike in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, CNN reported citing a western intelligence source whom it didn’t name.

El-Hanafi admitted he provided the terrorist group with encryption software that allowed secure communications, camera equipment to record attacks as well as radio-controlled cars which could be modified to conduct remote-controlled bombings of U.S. and coalition forces, prosecutors said. El-Hanafi, disappointed to have to go back to the U.S., sent back a report on the stock exchange that was so “rudimentary it was useless” to al-Qaeda, Wood said. El-Hanafi sued the U.S. government and federal prison employees, claiming his health problems stemmed from having his movements restricted while in detention and not receiving proper medical treatment.

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