Nige­rian pleads guilty to U.S. charges of aiding al-Qaeda

Daily Trust - - NEWS -

A Nige­rian cit­i­zen pleaded guilty yes­ter­day to U.S. charges of pro­vid­ing ma­te­rial sup­port to an al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in its me­dia and re­cruit­ment cam­paigns.

Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, 33, ap­pear­ing be­fore a federal judge in Brook­lyn, New York, pleaded guilty to pro­vid­ing ma­te­rial sup­port to a des­ig­nated for­eign ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion.

The plea came ahead of a July 14 trial date and fol­lowed a Nige­rian court’s de­ci­sion in Au­gust to grant a U.S. re­quest for Babafemi’s ex­tra­di­tion.

Prose­cu­tors said that, from Jan­uary 2010 to Au­gust 2011, Babafemi trav­eled from Nigeria to Ye­men twice to meet with lead­ers of al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, known as AQAP.

“The de­fen­dant trav­eled to Ye­men to put him­self at the dis­posal of a vi­o­lent ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion that has re­peat­edly demon­strated its de­ter­mi­na­tion to in­flict bod­ily and eco­nomic harm on the United States and its cit­i­zens,” Brook­lyn U.S. At­tor­ney Loretta Lynch said in a state­ment.

The U.S. govern­ment said Babafemi worked on AQAP’s me­dia op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of its mag­a­zine, called “In­spire.”

The group’s

lead­er­ship, in­clud­ing An­war al-Awlaki, paid Babafemi al­most $9,000 to re­cruit English­s­peak­ing people from Nigeria, prose­cu­tors said. Awlaki, a U.S. cit­i­zen born in New Mex­ico, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Ye­men in 2011.

An in­dict­ment unsealed in Fe­bru­ary 2013 charged Babafemi, also known as “Ay­a­tol­lah Mustapha,” with four counts in­clud­ing con­spir­acy to pro­vide ma­te­rial sup­port to AQAP, and use of firearms.

U.S. District Judge John Glee­son sched­uled sen­tenc­ing for Au­gust 27. Babafemi faces a max­i­mum of 30 years in prison. (Reuters)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.