Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Terrorism: Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 18 Years for Providing Material Support to al Qaeda

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Sabirhan Hasanoff was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 18 years in prison for providing and attempting to provide material support to al Qaeda associates in Yemen and elsewhere and for conspiring to provide material support to al Qaeda over the course of nearly three years. Hasanoff, who was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in 2010 and transferred to United States custody, pled guilty in June 2012 to one count of providing and attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda and one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda. He pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood, who also imposed today’s sentence.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “Today’s sentence reflects the egregiousness of Sabirhan Hasanoff’s conduct. The defendant not only funneled equipment capable of being used for nefarious purposes and thousands of dollars to al Qaeda operatives abroad, he also travelled to U.S. soil to surveil a major New York landmark for a potential terrorist attack. We will not hesitate to continue, with our law enforcement partners, to pursue individuals engaged in similar behavior and do what we can to ensure they are brought to justice.”

According to various public filings and sworn statements made by the defendant during proceedings in Manhattan federal court:

From 2007 through late 2009, Hasanoff supported al Qaeda in a variety of ways. Hasanoff and his co-defendant, Wesam El-Hanafi, sent equipment, including remote-controlled devices capable of use in an explosives attack, to terrorist operatives abroad. In addition, Hasanoff and El-Hanafi together funneled approximately $67,000 to al Qaeda operatives overseas. Hasanoff and El-Hanafi collected some of this money from a third individual who resided in the United States. During this time, both defendants used aliases to disguise the source of their money when making cash donations to their terrorist contacts and made extensive plans for travel to engage in jihad in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

In August 2008, Hasanoff entered the United States from abroad, travelled to New York City, and performed surveillance on the New York Stock Exchange—all on instructions from overseas terrorists who were considering the location for a possible attack. The information that Hasanoff gathered on the stock exchange was then sent to the terror operatives.

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In addition to his prison term, Hasanoff, 37, a dual citizen of the United States and Australia who resided in Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay a $200 special assessment fee and forfeiture in the amount of $70,000.

El-Hanafi pled guilty in June 2012 to one count of providing and attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda, and one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to Al Qaeda. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the New York-based Joint Terrorism Task Force—which principally consists of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and detectives of the New York City Police Department. Mr. Bharara thanked the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs, the Kansas City-based JTTF, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri for their extraordinary assistance in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. Cronan, Aimee Hector, Glen Kopp, Michael Lockard, and Brendan R. McGuire are in charge of the prosecution.