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US terror suspects plead not guilty to additional charges of aiding al Qaeda

Two terror suspects accused of aiding al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] pleaded not guilty Thursday to three additional charges. On Tuesday, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York [official website] announced [press release] a superseding indictment [text, PDF] against Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff for allegedly providing material support [18 USC § 2339B materials], including money and computer assistance, to al Qaeda. El-Hanafi allegedly traveled to Yemen where we swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda and received assignments and instructions. Hasanoff allegedly carried out several assignments for al Qaeda in New York City. According to the indictment:

the defendants, and others known and unknown, unlawfully and knowingly, did combine, confederate and agree together and with each other to provide "material support or resources," ... to a foreign terrorist organization, to wit, al Qaeda, which has been designated by the United States Secretary of State as a foreign terrorist organization.
The defendants pleaded not guilty before Judge Kimba Wood of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. If convicted, they could each face up to 70 years in prison.

In June, the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] 6-3 in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project [Cornell LII backgrounder] that the federal law criminalizing providing material support for groups designated as terrorist organizations is constitutional. El-Hanafi and Hasanoff were originally charged [JURIST report] in April with one count of providing material support to terrorism.

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