US citizen gets prison in al-Qaida case

Wednesday, 14 Mar, 2018

The trial heard that Al Farekh fell under the influence of Anwar Al Awlaki, an Al Qaeda propagandist, while a student in Canada.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 32, was convicted previous year after his fingerprints were found on a huge auto bomb that failed to detonate in the attack on Forward Operating Base Chapman (FOBC) in Khost province in 2009.

"With the sentence handed down today, al Qaeda terrorist Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh is being held accountable for his crimes", Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement Tuesday.

"Farekh, a citizen of this country, turned his back on America by joining al-Qaeda and trying to kill American soldiers in a bomb attack on a USA military base in Afghanistan", Donoghue said in a statement. "This case shows once again that criminal prosecutions in the federal courts move swiftly and land heavy sentences for those engaged in terrorist activity", said Joshua Geltzer, former White House senior director for counterterrorism in the Obama administration and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University.

A US citizen, 32-year-old Muhanad Mahmoud al Farekh, third from l., was sentenced to 45 years in prison after backing Al Qaeda and helping in the 2009 truck bomb attack on USA soldiers in Afghanistan.

Farekh was detained in Pakistan in 2015, transferred to US custody, questioned and then secretly flown to NY to face terrorism charges.

Richard Donoghue, US attorney for the eastern district of NY, said: "Farekh, a citizen of this country, turned his back on America by joining Al Qaeda and trying to kill American soldiers in a bomb attack on a US military base in Afghanistan".

"Although he does not claim to be an Islamic scholar, Mr Al Farekh is a devout Muslim and does not believe that Islam supports acts of terrorist violence".

Most of the charges against Farekh stemmed from an attack at Forward Operating Base Chapman in Khost City, Afghanistan, on January 19, 2009.

Farekh, 32, an American of Jordanian descent who was born in Houston and grew up in Dubai, was convicted past year of conspiracy to murder US nationals, explosives charges and providing material support to the terror group.

The Justice Department said Al Farekh and others received training from al Qaeda in Pakistan, where Al Farekh became a leader in the group. The first truck blew up, wounding several bystanders, including a US serviceman and a pregnant Afghan woman.

Farekh, prosecutors said, helped build the second truck bomb.

At the sentencing, al Farekh's lawyer read a letter from the 32-year-old, who was born in Houston and raised in Dubai.