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Indian man pleads guilty to financing Qaeda imam Awlaki
[WASHINGTON] One of four men arrested for sending thousands of dollars to the late Al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki pleaded guilty Monday to supporting terrorists and plotting to kill the US judge in the case.
Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 39, is one of two India-born brothers who came to the United States to study engineering in Ohio but formed a small cell to support jihadist activities, the indictment said.
He and his brother, Ibrahim Mohammad, joined with two US citizens, brothers Asif Ahmed Salim, and Sultane Room Salim, to raise funds for Awlaki, a US-born imam who was killed in a 2011 US drone strike in Yemen.
A leader of Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch, Awlaki is credited with inspiring hundreds of supporters to join the jihadist cause.
Yahya Farooq Mohammad traveled to Yemen in July 2009 where he handed over US$22,000 to a courier for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Neither he nor other members of the group ever met with Awlaki.
The four were arrested in 2015 for providing material support to terrorists. A year later, Yahya Farooq Mohammad was also charged with offering an undercover FBI agent US$15,000 to kidnap and kill US District Judge Jack Zouhary.
In a plea deal, Mohammad is expected to receive a prison sentence of 17 and a half years. The other three charged in the case have pleaded not guilty.
"Conspiring to have a judge killed is not the way to avoid being prosecuted," said FBI special agent Stephen Anthony.