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Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales Highlights Success in the War on Terror at the Council on Foreign Relations

The prevention of terrorist attacks and the prosecution of the war on terrorism remain the top priorities of the Department of Justice. In the past year alone, there have been significant convictions in terrorism cases from Virginia to Texas, following a track record of success over the past four years in previous cases such as John Walker Lindh, Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, among others.

Notable 2005 cases include: Ahmed Omar Abu Ali: On November 22, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, a federal jury convicted Ahmed Omar Abu Ali on all counts of a superseding indictment charging him with terrorism offenses. The jury found Ali, a 24-year-old Virginia man, guilty of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization (al Qaeda); providing material support and resources to al Qaeda; conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; providing material support to terrorists; contribution of services to al Qaeda; receipt of funds and services from al Qaeda; conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States; conspiracy to commit air piracy; and conspiracy to destroy aircraft. Ali faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for February 17, 2006. Uzair Paracha: On November 23, 2005, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York convicted Uzair Paracha, a Pakistani national with permanent resident alien status in the United States, on charges of providing material support to al Qaeda. Evidence at trial proved that Paracha agreed with his father and two al Qaeda members to provide support to al Qaeda by, among other things, trying to help an al Qaeda member re-enter the United States to commit a terrorist act. Paracha faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2006.

Hemant Lakhani: On April 27, 2005 in the District of New Jersey, a federal jury convicted a British national, Hemant Lakhani, on charges of attempting to sell shoulder-fired missiles to what he thought was a terrorist group intent on shooting down U.S. airliners. Lakhani was arrested following an undercover sting operation involving agents from several nations. Lakhani was sentenced in September 2005 to 47 years in prison.

Ali Al-Timimi: On April 26, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, Ali Al-Timimi was convicted on all 10 charges brought against him in connection with the “Virginia Jihad” case. Al-Timimi, a spiritual leader at a mosque in Northern Virginia, encouraged other individuals at a meeting to go to Pakistan to receive military training from Lashkar-e-Taibi, a designated foreign terrorist group, in order to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Al-Timimi was sentenced to life in prison.

Zacarias Moussaoui: On April 24, 2005 in the Eastern District of Virginia, Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty to six charges against him related to his participation in the September 11th conspiracy. Moussaoui faces a maximum penalty of death.

Eric Robert Rudolph: On April 13, 2005 in the Northern District of Georgia and the Northern District of Alabama, Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to charges related to deadly bombings in Birmingham, Alabama, and in the Atlanta area, including the bombing at the 1996 Olympics. He has been sentenced to life in prison. Rudolph provided the government with information about 250 pounds of explosives that he had hidden in the Western North Carolina area. As a result of Rudolph’s information, the government was able to locate and safely detonate the explosives.

‘INFOCOM’: On April 12, 2005 in the Northern District of Texas, a federal jury convicted Bayan Elashi, Basman Elashi, Ghassan Elashi and the Infocom Corporation on charges of conspiracy to deal in the property of a specially designated terrorist and money laundering. The activities were related to Infocom, an Internet service provider believed to be a front for Hamas. Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohammed Zayed: On March 10, 2005 a federal jury in the Eastern District of New York convicted Mohammed Ali Hasan Al-Moayad, a Yemeni cleric, and Mohammed Zayed on charges of providing, and conspiring to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda and Hamas. Al-Moayad was sentenced to 75 years in prison; Zayed was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

Rafil Dhafir: On February 10, 2005 in the Northern District of New York, a federal jury convicted Rafil Dhafir on charges of participating in a conspiracy to unlawfully send money to Iraq, in violation of U.S. sanctions, and money laundering. Dhafir was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Lynne Stewart, et al: On February 10, 2005, a federal jury in the Southern District of New York convicted attorney Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, Ahmed Abdel Sattar and Yassir al-Sirri on charges including providing, and concealing the provision of, material support or resources to terrorists. The four defendants were associates of Sheikh Abdel-Rahman, leader of the terrorist organization Islamic Group (IG). Rahman is serving a life sentence for his role in terrorist activity, including the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.