Washington: The FBI has arrested an Indian engineer and another man who were among four persons indicted by a US court on charges of providing financial support to an al Qaeda leader to support violent jihad against America.
Indian brothers - Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37, and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36 - along with Asif Ahmed Salim, 35, and his brother Sultane Room Salim, 40 - have been indicted on charges of providing material support and resources to terrorists.
The FBI arrested Ibrahim in Texas - where he lived - on Thursday, while Sultane was arrested in Ohio. The two other accused are in the UAE.
The four were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support and resources to terrorists, one count of providing material support and resources to terrorists and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Attorney Kadri Cherrefe, who represents Sultane, said he has pleaded not guilty. "Salim has pleaded not guilty. The case has been filed against him and others. The onus is now on the federal prosecutors to produce documents and evidences to prove," Cherrefe told PTI over telephone.
Cherrefe said she is only representing Sultane . It is not known who is representing the other three men in federal court. Officials from either the FBI or the Department of Justice did not respond to calls and emails on the case.
However, given the past precedence, the Department of Justice would try to get back the other two mentioned in the indictment to the United States to face the charges.
Yahya, an Indian citizen, studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004. He married a US citizen in 2008, but has been a resident of the United Arab Emirates since 2004, according to local The Toledo Blade.
Yahya's brother Ibrahim studied engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2001 to 2005. He moved to Toledo around 2006, married a US citizen, and became a permanent resident of the US around 2007, the daily said.
Matthew Shepherd, an assistant US attorney, told the court that two of the charges against Sultane carry maximum possible sentences of 15 years in prison, while the third carries a possible 20-year sentence, the daily said.
"This is a case that has a statutory presumption for detention because of the nature of the charges," Shepherd said. The first two counts were both crimes defined as "a federal crime of terrorism," he said.
According to the indictment, on July 22, 2009, Yahya travelled with two other people to Yemen to meet al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. They were unable to meet with Awlaki, so instead travelled to Sana?a, Yemen, to meet with one of his associates.?Yahya and his two fellow travelers gave the associate approximately USD 22,000 to be given to Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in 2011.
The 72-page indictment says that these four persons were questioned by the FBI several times in the past and they lied.
"On or about January 9, 2012, in the UAE, Farooq made false statements to the FBI," the indictment says.