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Albany mosque leaders sentenced to 15 years for money laundering in FBI terror sting

[JURIST] Two Albany, New York men convicted in a money laundering scheme set up as an FBI sting [JURIST report] were each sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison. Former imam at Masjid as-Salam mosque Yassin Aref and mosque co-founder and pizzeria owner Mohammed Hossain were convicted [AP report] in October for their roles in a money laundering scheme involving an FBI informant who pretended to be an illegal arms dealer. According to a USAO press release [text], the two agreed to launder money which they believed came from the sale of a shoulder-fired missile to a terrorist group to be used to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat. Aref and Hossain were also ordered to forfeit $40,000, and pay special fines of $1,000 and $4,000 respectively

An initial terrorism charge against Aref and Hossain was later dropped when it was found to be based on a Defense Department mistranslation of evidence [NYT report]. The men's defense had filed a motion to dismiss the case alleging that evidence in the case may have been illegally obtained through National Security Agency (NSA) wiretaps under the controversial domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. In a highly unusual move, the judge refused the motion in a secret ruling [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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