American convicted of supporting al-Qaeda, aiding bomb attack


Texas-born militant faces life in prison for involvement in 2009 attack against US troops in Afghanistan

US Marshals outside Federal Court in Brooklyn during the arraignment of Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 2 April 2015 (AFP)
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Saturday 30 September 2017 0:26 UTC

An American citizen was found guilty by jurors in Brooklyn federal court on Friday of supporting al-Qaeda and helping to prepare a 2009 car bomb attack on a US military base in Afghanistan.

Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 31, was convicted of charges that include conspiring to murder Americans and use a weapon of mass destruction, and supporting a foreign terrorist organisation, according to a spokesman for US prosecutors in Brooklyn.

He faces life in prison when he is sentenced on 11 January.

Al Farekh's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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 against American forces.

They also charged that Al Farekh helped prepare a vehicle-borne explosive device used in a 19 January 2009 attack on a US Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors said an accomplice detonated one device, injuring multiple people. 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 Al Farekh travelled with in 2007, Ferid Imam, has also been indicted, though his whereabouts are unknown.

Prosecutors said Imam provided training at an al-Qaeda camp in Pakistan in 2008 to three men later found guilty of plotting a bombing attack in the New York City subway system.

Authorities have said that before going to Pakistan, Farekh and Imam frequently watched videos promoting violence, including online lectures by Anwar Al-Awlaki, the US-born, Yemen-based militant preacher affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in a US drone attack in 2011.