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Indian In USA Jailed For Over 27 Years For Terror Funding Charges

Yahya Farooq Mohammad is among 4 men who were accused in 2015 of working to send money to al Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki

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A judge has imposed a 27 and-a-half year prison term for an Indian citizen accused of supporting terrorism and trying to arrange the killing of the Ohio federal judge who originally oversaw his case.

Monday’s sentence from Judge Edmund Sargus for defendant Yahya Farooq Mohammad also requires the Indian citizen to be deported at the end of his sentence and to pay a $25,000 fine.

Mohammad is one of four men who were accused in 2015 of working to send money to Anwar al-Awlaki, an Al Qaida leader killed by a US drone in 2011.

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He and three other accused – his brother Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim, and Sultane Room Salim – were indicted by a federal grand jury in September 2015. The case against the three other men, who pleaded not guilty, is pending, the statement issued by the United States Department of Justice said.

In a statement, the US Department of Justice said: “Mohammad admitted to conspiring with his co-defendants to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars, equipment, and other assistance to Anwar Al-Awlaki, in an effort to support violent jihad against US military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world”.

On 22 July, 2009, Mohammad travelled with two associates to Yemen to meet Awlaki and deliver the $22,000 that they had raised. Although they were unable to meet Awlaki in person, Mohammad and his associates did ensure that Awlaki received the money through a courier, according to the statement.

Mohammad also admitted to recruiting an undercover FBI official to abduct and murder judge Jack Zouhary, who was hearing Mohammad’s case at the time. The case was appointed to Zouhary in April 2016. Mohammad was reportedly willing to pay $15,000 to have the Judge kidnapped and murdered.

Another inmate in the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo provided Mohammad with the contact information for the undercover operative and stated that he would need to make a $1,000 down payment.

Mohammad called the 'hitman’ undercover operative from the Lucas County Corrections Center and agreed to provide the $1,000 down payment.

The US Department of Justice said: “On or about April 26, 2016, Mohammad called the FBI operative from the Lucas County Corrections Center. Using the agreed-upon code, Mohammad told the operative he wanted to have Judge Zouhary killed. Mohammad agreed to provide the $1,000 down payment. When asked when he wanted the murder committed, Mohammad stated, “The sooner would be good, you know.” Over the ensuing days, Mohammad arranged to have a family member provide the $1,000 in cash to the UCE. On 5 May 2016, that family member met with the operative and provided him with $1,000 in cash”.

Mohammad, 39, studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004. He married a US citizen in 2008.

He and three other accused – his brother Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim, and Sultane Room Salim – were prosecuted by a federal grand jury in 2015.

Mohammad's attorney has said another inmate trying to reduce his own sentence drew Mohammad into the plot to kill federal Judge Jack Zouhary.

Three others charged are awaiting trial.

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(With inputs from US Department of Justice website)

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