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Canadian held in US pleads guilty to supporting al Qaeda

[JURIST] A Canadian man pleaded guilty [press release] Wednesday to one count of conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] before a federal court. Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, a Canadian citizen of Somali descent, was charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support [18 USC § 2339B] to al Qaeda, one count of providing material support to al Qaeda, and three counts of making false statements to the FBI. As part of a plea agreement, the government agreed to drop the remaining charges in exchange for Warsame's admission of guilt, which carries a statutory minimum sentence of 15 years. The charges stem from his attendance of an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000, and his continued involvement with al Qaeda operatives through 2003 after his relocation to Canada and Minneapolis. Warsame has been held in solitary confinement since his arrest and indictment [JURIST report] in 2004.

Warsame is the latest terrorism suspect to plead guilty in US federal courts. Earlier this month, al Qaeda operative Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri [NYT profile; JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to an identical conspiracy charge. Al-Marri was charged [JURIST report] in February, after President Barack Obama issued an executive order [press release; JURIST report] directing a review of his case. Also in February, US citizen Christopher Paul was sentenced [JURIST report] to 20 years in prison for conspiring with other al Qaeda members to use a weapon of mass destruction to bomb European tourist sites and US military and government facilities oversea. Two other men connected to Paul, Iyman Faris [Global Security profile] and Nuradin Abdi, pleaded guilty to terrorism-related conspiracy charges in 2003 and 2007 [JURIST reports], respectively.

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