New York: Three men have been charged here for providing material support to al Qaeda linked terror group Al-Shabaab as well as for participating in the terror outfit`s suicide bomber programme and face life imprisonment.
Ali Yasin Ahmed 27, Madhi Hashi 23 and Mohamed Yusuf 29 appeared in federal court in Brooklyn before Judge Sandra Townes yesterday after a superseding indictment was unsealed charging them with providing material support to Al-Shabaab and the unlawful use of high-powered firearms.
Each faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges.
"As alleged, these defendants are not aspiring terrorists, they are terrorists. They did more than receive terrorist training: they put that training to practice in terrorist operations with Al-Shabaab.
"Their capture and prosecution are important steps in the continuing campaign against terrorism," Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI`s New York Field Office George Venizelos said.
According to court documents, between December 2008 and August 2012 the three men participated in weapons and explosives training with members and associates of Al-Shabaab, agreeing with others to support the terror group and its Islamic extremist agenda, the FBI said in a statement.
They were deployed in combat operations to support Al-Shabaab`s military action in Somalia and also participated in an elite suicide bomber programme.
In early August 2012, the three men were apprehended in Africa by local authorities while on their way to Yemen.
A grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned a sealed indictment against the defendants in October and last month the FBI took custody of them and brought them to the Eastern District of New York.
"The defendants were committed supporters of Al-Shabaab, a violent terrorist organisation, who used high-powered firearms and participated in combat operations and al Shabaab`s suicide bombing programme.
"We will use every tool at our disposal to combat terrorist groups, deter terrorist activity, and incapacitate individual terrorists," US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch said.