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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Somali Gets 9 Years for Supporting Terrorism

(CN) - A Somali national was sentenced to nine years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Mahdi Hashi, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson of the Eastern District of New York on Friday.

Hashi traveled from the United Kingdom to Somalia to join the terrorist group. He served as a member of al-Shabaab and supported the group's violent extremist agenda between December 2009 and August 2012.

Authorities in east Africa arrested Hashi when he left Somalia in August 2012. He was sent to the United States for prosecution in November 2012.

Hashi and two co-defendants pleaded guilty on May 12, 2015.

"This defendant left his family and his adopted home in the United Kingdom behind so he could offer himself in support of al-Shabaab, a violent terrorist organization that has demonstrated its capabilities and motives in numerous terrorist attacks and that has publicly called for attacks against the United States," U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers said in a statement. "Today's sentence should serve as a warning to others who offer support to terrorist groups that pose a threat to the United States and our allies around the world."

Al-Shabaab frequently employs suicide bombings. One of the attacks by the group in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010 killed 74 people.

Al-Shabaab has successfully recruited individuals from around the world to come to Somalia and join the organization. These individuals, known within al-Shabaab as "foreign fighters," lived, trained and often fought alongside native Somali fighters.

Al-Shabaab frequently made Western foreign fighters the face of its fundraising and propaganda efforts as part of a broader strategy emphasizing that the conflict in Somalia was part of a global jihad aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate.

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