American Citizen Charged with Conspiring to Provide Material Support to Terrorists
U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, Assistant Director in Charge Diego G. Rodriguez of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner William J. Bratton of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) announced that a complaint and arrest warrant were unsealed today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York charging Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, an American citizen, with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Farekh’s initial appearance is scheduled today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky of the Eastern District of New York. Farekh was deported from Pakistan to the United States and arrested pursuant to the pending warrant.
As alleged in the complaint, Farekh conspired with others to provide material support to terrorists and specifically to provide personnel to be used in support of efforts to kill American citizens and members of the U.S. military abroad. In approximately 2007, Farekh, an individual named Ferid Imam and a third co-conspirator departed Canada for Pakistan with the intention of fighting against American forces. They did not inform their families of their plan before departing, but called a friend in Canada upon arrival to let him know that he should not expect to hear from them again because they intended to become martyrs. According to public testimony in previous criminal trials in the Eastern District of New York, in approximately September 2008, Ferid Imam provided weapons and other military-type training at an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan to three individuals—Najibullah Zazi, Zarein Ahmedzay and Adis Medunjanin—who intended to return to the United States to conduct a suicide attack on the New York City subway system. Zazi and Ahmedzay pleaded guilty pursuant to cooperation agreements and have yet to be sentenced; Medunjanin was convicted after trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Ferid Imam has also been indicted for his role in the plot.
“Today’s arrest demonstrates that there is no escape from the long reach of our law for American citizens who seek to do harm to our country on behalf of violent terrorist,” said U.S. Attorney Lynch. “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to bring such individuals to justice.”
“Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh is alleged to have conspired with others to provide material support to terrorists,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. “Counterterrorism is the highest priority of the National Security Division, and we will continue to be tireless in our pursuit of those who wish to harm the United States or its people. I would like to thank the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for the charges in this case.”
“Al Farekh allegedly provided material support to terrorists with every intention of becoming a martyr,” said Assistant Director in Charge Rodriguez. “Today members of our military are safer because of the relentless investigative work by the FBI’s Manhattan-based Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
“The NYPD will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and arrest individuals who choose to work alongside terrorist organizations and threaten the lives of Americans,” said Commissioner Bratton. “We applaud the investigators and prosecutors whose efforts led to this arrest.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
The charges in the complaint are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Richard M. Tucker of the Eastern District of New York, with assistance provided by Trial Attorney Bridget Behling of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.