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Federal court convicts US citizen on terrorism charges

[JURIST] A federal court in Atlanta on Wednesday found American Ehsanul Islam Sadequee guilty [press release] on four terrorism-related counts. Sadequee was convicted in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia [official website] of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization by making himself available to participate in violent jihad and by shooting "casing" videos of Washington, DC, landmarks that were to be sent to jihadists abroad. Calling the verdict the product of a "long and successful international counter-terrorism investigation," US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia David Nahmias [official profile] said:

This case remains, however, a sobering reminder that terrorism and its supporters are not confined to distant battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. As recent events further demonstrate, there are still some American citizens willing to take up arms against the United States, our people, our allies, and our interests.

Sadequee, who represented himself at trial, had argued that the videos showed only immature bragging [AP report], and that he was not a terrorist, nor had he been at the time. Co-conspirator Syed Haris Ahmed, who was convicted [JURIST report] in June, testified against Sadequee at trial. Sadequee faces a maximum of 60 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Sadequee and Ahmed were believed to have ties to a terrorist cell that was plotting to attack targets in Canada [JURIST report], known as the "Toronto 18" [Toronto Star backgrounder; advocacy website]. Members of the group were arrested, accused of planning a series of violent attacks on civilians, public officials, and government buildings. The charges included participating in a terrorist group, receiving training from a terrorist group, training terrorists, and importing weapons and ammunition for terrorism. Last September, one of the group's members, the first person convicted under Canada's post-9/11 terrorism law was sentenced to 36 months [JURIST reports] in prison and released by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] in consideration of the time he had already served.

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