USA: Ethiopian prisoner found guilty on terror charges for 2nd time

Al Shabaab fighters in Somalia
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BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) — An East African man imprisoned in Texas for terrorism was convicted Friday of trying to recruit fellow prisoners to join the Islamic State group and plan attacks in the United States, federal prosecutors announced.

Ahmed, who was arrested in the West African country of Nigeria in 2010, was convicted in New York for providing and conspiring to provide material support to the militant Somali group, Al Shabab, which the State Department has listed as a terrorist group.

A jury found Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed, 45, guilty of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and making a false statement to the FBI after a seven-day trial, according to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Texas.

In 2013, a federal judge in New York sentenced Ahmed, an Ethiopian national born in Eretria, to more than nine years in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to support terrorism. Prosecutors said he attended an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 1996 and was a member of a network that gave financial and logistical supported other terrorist groups.

Ahmed has since been imprisoned at a federal facility in Beaumont, a city about 85 miles (137 kilometers) east of Houston. While there, he recruited at least five other prisoners to join the Islamic State group abroad or carry out domestic terror attacks after their release, prosecutors said.

The group allegedly discussed a plot to bomb a federal detention center in New York City, where Ahmed was held during his earlier case. Prosecutors said they exercised in the prison yard to “to get them in shape to carry out the acts of terror” and studied a manual on how to conduct violent attacks.

Ahmed represented himself during the trial, delivering his own opening and closing statements and questioning witnesses. He is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and has not yet been scheduled for sentencing.

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