New York Man Pleads Guilty to Aiding Al-Qaida
by Abha Shankar • Jun 19, 2012 at 10:35 am
A New York man pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida. A federal indictment unsealed in April 2010 charged Wessam El-Hanafi with providing monetary and technical assistance to the terrorist group.
A co-defendant, Sabirhan Hasanoff, charged in the indictment pleaded guilty earlier this month.
The indictment alleged that El-Hanafi, a U.S. citizen and computer engineer residing in Brooklyn, swore allegiance to al-Qaida during a 2005 trip to Yemen. El-Hanafi also bought seven Casio digital watches online for al-Qaida. In addition, he subscribed to a software program that let him communicate more securely with others on the Internet. Both El-Hanafi and Hasanoff used code words to express their desire to wage jihad in Internet chat rooms as well as reach out to other al-Qaida members, the indictment said. El-Hanafi faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing.