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July 28, 2005
AQ Religious Firebrand Gets 75 Years

A New York court sentenced Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad to seventy-five years in prison for providing funds, arms, and assistance to al-Qaeda and Hamas. A jury convicted the sheikh despite one of the government witnesses setting himself on fire earlier this year in protest of what he felt was unfair treatment by the US government:

A Yemeni cleric who claimed to have ties with Osama Bin Laden has been sentenced to 75 years in prison in New York.

Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad was convicted on charges of conspiring to support the al-Qaeda network and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

At a meeting with two FBI informants in Germany, he was recorded promising to funnel more than $2m (1.1m) to Hamas.

He was arrested by German police in January 2003 and extradited to the US.

For each of five counts, Moayad received 15-year sentences, each to be served consecutively.

Contrast this to the ridiculously light sentence handed down by Judge John C. Coughenour to Ahmed Rassam, who attempted to kill hundreds if not thousands of people at LAX for the millenium celebration. For smuggling a trunkful of bombmaking materials into the US, Ressam will only have to serve as little as fourteen years. It seems that the lesson we need to learn from this is that we treat the bombers much better than we treat the financiers.

One strange footnote to this case is the attempted self-immolation of Mohammed Alanssi last November. After his almost-literal meltdown, the prosecution dropped him as a witness. However, the defense then called him as a hostile witness for their presentation. Big mistake. According to the only report I could easily find about his testimony in February, Alanssi dropped a bombshell on the defense regardless of how he felt about the US government:

Mohamed Alanssi, called as a hostile witness for the defense, testified Thursday that Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad told him he gave $20 million to bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks and $3.5 million to the terrorist group Hamas. ...

Defense attorney Howard Jacobs asked whether al-Moayad, who runs religious charities in Yemen, explicitly stated he funneled money to Islamist fighters.

Alanssi replied that it wasn't necessary.

"The charitable work of Sheik Moayad is a front, and the money he gets is for mujahedeen," a militant group whose name means holy fighters, Alanssi said.

Jacobs asked to strike the response from the record.

"No," Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. replied. "You asked it."

One suspects that al-Moayad will appeal this conviction, as I predicted in February, on grounds of legal incompetence. This strange case has not seen its last headline yet.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 28, 2005 1:34 PM

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» Innocent man? My Ass! from Scott Kozlowski dot com
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Tracked on July 29, 2005 3:15 PM



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