A federal judge sentenced a former University of Alabama student to seven and a half years in prison after she told an undercover FBI employee how to secretly send funds to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, the department said US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, was also sentenced to 10 years of probation after he “pleaded guilty to receiving terrorist financing in September 2019” as part of a plea deal, the DOJ said in a statement Wednesday. .
Between February and April 2018, Abusaad trained an undercover FBI employee on how to transfer funds to mujahideen engaged in jihad, the DOJ noted, citing the plea agreement.
She told the FBI employee that the funds are “always necessary.
“You can’t have a war without weapons. You can’t groom a soldier without gear,” she continued, according to the DOJ.
Abusaad also instructed the undercover FBI employee on ways to send funds that would go undetected by authorities, “including using false names and addresses during electronic money transfers,” said Abusaad. said the DOJ.
She then introduced the undercover agent to another person who could facilitate the agent’s money transfers to “brothers who work with” al-Qaeda, the statement said.
Abusaad’s defense had argued that mental health issues and her childhood experiences left her vulnerable to the dangers of the internet, WBMA reported. She also sent a letter to the judge, saying she wanted to help Syrians under dictator Bashar Al-Assad:
At the time, I was unaware of the American presence in Syria, regardless, I acted out of ignorance without thinking about how my actions might endanger innocent lives. I wanted to help Syrian civilians under tyrant Assad (referring to Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad) but the way I wanted to help them was wrong. In my mind, when I spoke to UCE (Undercover Employee), I only saw a painted picture of evil when it came to American troops. I saw Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison. I saw the rape, torture and humiliation of Muslims. I projected what I saw of a few onto all the soldiers. I made a similar generalization with the FBI.
Abusaad was a former University of Alabama student and had remained in the Shelby County Jail in Alabama since her arrest in 2018, WVTM reported.