Virginia jihad network

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The Virginia jihad network was a group of young men centered in Northern Virginia that were accused of conspiring to train and participate in violence overseas.[1][2] The men, Muhammed Aatique, Hammad Abdur-Raheem, Ibrahim Ahmed Al-Hamdi, Seifullah Chapman, Khwaja Hasan, Masoud Khan, Yong Kwon, Randall Todd Royer and Donald Surratt, were found guilty of various terrorism-related offences.[3]

Convictions[edit]

Ali al-Timimi was found guilty of exhorting his followers to join the Taliban and fight US troops.[4][5]

Ali Asad Chandia was a teacher at a school in Maryland[6] and was accused of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a U.S.-designated Pakistani terrorist organization.[7] Chandia was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with three years of supervised release at the end of his incarceration[8][9]

Randall Todd Royer plead guilty to two counts of aiding and abetting the use and discharge of a firearm and carrying of an explosion in relation to a crime and during the commission of a felony.[3] These counts stemmed from assisting other young men to gain entry to the Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp.[3] Three other individuals attending that meeting, Yong Kwon, Muhammed Aatique, and Khwaja Hasan—all of whom pleaded guilty—stated that they went to the Lashkar-e-Taiba camp to obtain combat training for the purpose engaging in violent jihad in Afghanistan against the American troops that they expected would soon invade that country.[3] Al-Hamdi also admitted to carrying a rocket-propelled grenade in furtherance of a conspiracy to undertake a military operation against India.[3]

Seifullah Chapman maintained his intention to travel to the training camp was for a grueling physical challenge, not to seek out fighting in a holy war.[10] Masoud Khan, Seifullah Chapman and Hammad Abdur-Raheem all were convicted of conspiring to provide material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and to attack India in violation of the Neutrality Act of 1794, as well as of various firearms related offenses, for conduct that spanned from 2000 to 2003.[3] U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema considered the sentences "draconian" and suggested preferring to imposing a lesser sentence for some of the convicted men.[10]

Aftermath[edit]

A 2011 NPR report claimed some of the people associated with this group were imprisoned in a highly restrictive Communication Management Unit.[11] A federal judge in Virginia ordered Seifullah Chapman, one of the convicted men from the case serving a 65-year sentence, to be released from prison in July 2018. [10] The decision stemmed from a recent Supreme Court case that overturned a law that was found to be unconstitutionally vague in the way it described a crime.[10] Chapman argued his initial conviction of violating a law was vague in the way it described "a crime of violence".[10] A month later, the same judge vacated the convictions of Masoud Khan, a second man from the case serving a life-sentence, based on the same argument made by Chapman.[12] On January 13, 2009, Yong Ki Kwon testified by video link in the Sydney trial of five men accused of planning a terrorist attack in Australia.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dao, James (2005-04-27). "Muslim Cleric Found Guilty in the 'Virginia Jihad' Case". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  2. ^ "Muslim Cleric Found Guilty in the 'Virginia Jihad' Case". CNN.com. Cable News Network LP, LLLP. 2003-06-27. Archived from the original on 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "RANDALL TODD ROYER AND IBRAHIM AHMED AL-HAMDI SENTENCED FOR PARTICIPATION IN VIRGINIA JIHAD NETWORK". United States Department of Justice. 2004-04-09. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  4. ^ Barakat, Matthew (2005-04-27). "Islamic scholar convicted of advocating war on US". Associated Press. The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2005-05-27. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  5. ^ Schmidt, Susan (2003-10-03). "Spreading Saudi Fundamentalism in U.S." The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-03-08.
  6. ^ "Teacher jailed for aiding LeT". Times of India. 26 August 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-18. A 29-year-old Maryland man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for providing support to Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba
  7. ^ Terrorism suspect released on bond Diamondback Online Archived 2006-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Teacher at College Park school sentenced for aiding terrorists Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine Gazette, Maryland Community Newspapers Online
  9. ^ Hardball Tactics in an Era of Threats Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine The Washington Post
  10. ^ a b c d e "Judge tosses terror case convictions, orders prisoner freed". Associated Press. 19 July 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  11. ^ DATA & GRAPHICS: Population Of The Communications Management Units Archived 2011-03-07 at the Wayback Machine, Margot Williams and Alyson Hurt, NPR, 3-3-11, retrieved 2011 03 04 from npr.org
  12. ^ "Federal judge tosses terror convictions in case tied to paintball games in Spotsylvania". The Free Lance-Star. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  13. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2465142.htm Archived 2012-11-13 at the Wayback Machine Accessed August 3, 2011.