Two Men Plead Guilty In Connecticut Terrorism Case

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Two men extradited from Britain last year pleaded guilty on Dec. 10 to supporting terrorists in Afghanistan through websites that sought to raise cash, recruit fighters and solicit items such as gas masks.

Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan appeared in U.S. District Court in New Haven to charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. By pleading guilty, the men "admitted that they knew that their efforts could result in the maiming and murder of individuals, including U.S. citizens," acting U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said.

A prosecutor said Ahsan traveled to Afghanistan with Ahmad's assistance to fight and attend a training camp run by al-Qaida, but Ahsan didn't admit that.

Both men possessed a classified document discussing a U.S. Navy battle group's movements and vulnerability to attack, authorities said.

A former Navy sailor was sentenced in 2009 to 10 years in prison for leaking the details about the battle group to the website, but the group was never attacked.

"This investigation further demonstrates law enforcement's resolve to bring to justice anyone who supports those who would target American interests at home or abroad," said John Sandweg, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The judge didn't immediately accept Ahmad's plea while she awaits information from probation officials, but she said the plea was voluntarily made.

The two men, British citizens who were living in Britain at the time, faced charges in Connecticut because authorities said they used an Internet service provider in the state to run one of the websites.

A charge of conspiring to kill people in a foreign country will be dismissed under the plea agreement.

The websites operated under the name of Azzam Publications, which authorities say provided support to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime and focused on the wars in Bosnia and Chechnya in the 1990s. The sites asked for donations of military suits and gas masks for the Taliban and appealed to Pakistanis to travel to Afghanistan to fight, according to Ahmad's plea agreement.

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