Terrorism: Nigerian bags 22-year jail term in US


A Nigerian accused of receiving weapons training from al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate and writing rap lyrics, among other contributions, for the group’s English-language media operations was sentenced on Wednesday to 22 years in United States prison, authorities said.

Lawal Babafemi, 35, also known as Ayatollah Mustapha, was sentenced by US District Judge, John Gleeson in Brooklyn after pleading guilty in April 2014 to providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation, al Qaeda, in the Arabian Peninsula.

Prosecutors had sought up to 30 years in prison for Babafemi, who was extradited from Nigeria in 2013 after being arrested several times two years earlier on local terrorism charges.

Prosecutors said that from January 2010 to August 2011, Babafemi traveled from Nigeria to Yemen twice to meet with leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP.

During his time with that group, Babafemi, who went by the name ‘Ayatollah Mustapha,’ worked on AQAP’s media operations, including its magazine ‘Inspire,’ prosecutors said.

He and two other individuals, including a Vietnamese named Minh Quang Pham, contributed writing and editing, prosecutors said, and Babafemi became close with Samir Khan, a US citizen who was Inspire’s editor.

Together, the men appeared in the magazine in a photograph wearing camouflage and holding rifles, authorities say.

The group’s leadership, including Anwar al-Awlaki, paid Babafemi almost $9,000 to recruit English speakers from Nigeria, prosecutors said.

culled from Tribune

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