American sentenced to 45 years prison for role in Al-Qaeda bomb attack

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, an American citizen, faces life in prison after being convicted for his role in an Al-Qaeda attack on a US army base in Afghanistan in 2009. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 March 2018
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American sentenced to 45 years prison for role in Al-Qaeda bomb attack

NEW YORK: A US citizen was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Tuesday for supporting the militant group Al-Qaeda and helping to prepare a 2009 car bomb attack on a US military base in Afghanistan, less than the life sentence sought by prosecutors.
Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 32, was sentenced by US District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn federal court. Al Farekh’s lawyer, David Ruhnke, said at the court hearing that Al Farekh would be appealing his conviction.
Before Cogan imposed the sentence, Ruhnke read a letter written by Al Farekh, who did not speak himself. Al Farekh did not directly address the crimes of which he was found guilty, but asked the judge to consider that young men could be misled into violence. Al Farekh said in the letter that he was now opposed to violence.
Assistant US Attorney Richard Tucker urged the judge not to believe the letter, saying Al Farekh remained “unshakably committed to violent jihad” and was “willing to say anything.”
Cogan said the letter was “not an enthusiastic acceptance of responsibility.”
“I just can’t draw anything from that,” he said.
Still, the judge said he was giving Al Farekh some hope of life after prison because he did not believe him to be “totally devoid of humanity,” citing the support of his family.
Cogan said that, with 15 percent off his sentence for good behavior and three years time served, Al Farekh could get out when he is 67.
Al Farekh was found guilty by a jury in September of the charges of conspiring to murder Americans, using a weapon of mass destruction and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.
US prosecutors in 2015 accused Al Farekh, who was born in Texas, of conspiring to support Al-Qaeda by traveling with two fellow students from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, to Pakistan with the intention of fighting US forces.
Al Farekh had helped prepare an explosive device used in a Jan. 19, 2009 attack on a US Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said an accomplice detonated one device, injuring multiple people including a pregnant woman, while Al Farekh’s fingerprints were found on packing tape for the second device, which another accomplice carried but failed to detonate.
One of the other university students with whom Al Farekh traveled in 2007, Ferid Imam, has also been indicted, though his whereabouts are unknown.


Three people killed in Maryland shooting

Updated 2 min 6 sec ago
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Three people killed in Maryland shooting

  • The Harford County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that there was a shooting Thursday morning in the Perryman area
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says his office is monitoring the situation in Aberdeen and that the state stands ready to offer any support

ABERDEEN, Maryland: Authorities say multiple people have been shot in northeast Maryland in what the FBI is describing as an “active shooter situation.”
The Harford County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that there was a shooting Thursday morning in the Perryman area that involves “multiple victims.” They warn that the situation is still fluid and ask people to avoid the area.
The FBI’s Baltimore field office tweets that it is responding and assisting the sheriff’s office with an active shooter situation. The Baltimore field division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tweets that its special agents are responding too.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says his office is monitoring the situation in Aberdeen and that the state stands ready to offer any support.

A spokeswoman for Rite Aid says a shooting has taken place on the campus of a company distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland.
Spokeswoman Susan Henderson told The Associated Press on Thursday morning that the shooting happened at a support facility adjacent to a larger building.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that three people have been killed in the shooting. The law enforcement official has knowledge of the shooting but wasn’t authorized to discuss details by name and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press. The official stressed that the number is based on preliminary information.
Henderson says authorities are at the scene and the company is cooperating with the investigation.
She says the company has no further information to share.