Alabama couple sentenced to a decade in prison for supporting terrorism

NEW YORK (AP) — An activist husband-wife duo will spend about a decade in prison after each pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

Prosecutors said the man told a law enforcement officer posing as a terrorism sympathizer that he wanted to carry out a terrorist attack in the United States. Potential targets included the United States Military Academy at West Point or against a New York State University where he frequently saw cadets from the Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC train.

James Bradley, 21, of the Bronx was sentenced to 11 years in prison in Manhattan federal court on Thursday. His wife, Arwa Muthana, 30, of Hoover, Alabama, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Friday in proceedings before Judge Paul A. Engelmayer.

The convictions came after they pleaded guilty in September, admitting they were supporters of the Islamic State group who had tried to travel to the Middle East to fight for the organization. They married in an Islamic wedding ceremony in January 2021, authorities said.

The couple were arrested on March 31, 2021 on the gangway of the Port Newark – Elizabeth Marine Terminal in New Jersey and held without bond. At the time, authorities said they planned to board a cargo ship that an undercover law enforcement officer said was heading to Yemen.

Bradley requested transit to the Middle East by cargo ship because he feared he had been on a terrorist watch list, prosecutors said.

Authorities said that prior to their arrest, the couple circulated extremist content online, including images of IS fighters, Osama bin Laden and terror attacks.

After Muthana’s arrest, she told investigators she was willing to fight and kill Americans if it was for God, prosecutors said.

Her lawyers had asked Engelmayer to sentence her to time served, saying she was a woman “without a passport, little money and no real plan”. They said her actions were the result of an “abused and traumatized young woman trying to get as far away from home as possible”.

Bradley’s lawyers have also asked for a jail sentence.

Prosecutors had asked the judge to sentence each of them to at least 15 years in prison, saying it was necessary “to deter and prevent the defendants from resuming their activities in favor of radical Islamist terrorist ideology, and to deter those who, like the defendants, seek to join and serve brutal terrorist organizations.

The US Probation Office had recommended that each serve six years in prison. The office cited Bradley’s age, family support and involvement in de-radicalization counseling.


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