US woman gets 20 years for aiding al-Shabab
Amina Farah Ali was sentenced on 13 terrorism-related counts following a three-and-a-half-hour hearing in US District Court in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis: A woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sending money to an al Qaeda-linked group in her native Somalia, despite her insistence that she was only trying to help the poor in the war-torn East African country.
Amina Farah Ali was on Thursday sentenced on 13 terrorism-related counts following a three-and-a-half-hour hearing in US District Court in Minneapolis.
Chief Judge Michael Davis asked Ali whether those who she collected money from knew that it would be going to al-Shabab, a terrorist group at the heart of much of the violence in Somalia in recent years.
"I did not send the money to al-Shabab. Al-Shabab was a vehicle used to get the money to the needy. It was not used for their own purposes."
Her attorney, Dan Scott, told the court that al-Shabab was in control of southern Somalia at the time, and that Ali learnt that she needed to work with those in power if her money was going to get to its destination.
"This is not a choice between good and evil. This was a choice between evils, and she chose to see the good," he said. After the hearing, Scott said he`ll recommend that Ali appeal, saying "there`s no excuse for that sentence." He declined to comment further.
Ali was among nine people sentenced this week for their roles in the US government`s long-running investigations into terrorism recruiting and financing for al-Shabab, an al Qaeda-linked group at the heart of much of the violence in Somalia in recent years.