Two women who are both originally from Somalia, and are now naturalized U.S. citizens, were sentenced Friday for providing material support to terrorists.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, Virginia, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, received sentences of 12 years and 11 years respectively.
The women were found guilty in 2016 of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a foreign terrorist organization, and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Court documents revealed that Jama and Dhirane sent funds to financiers of al-Shabaab in Somalia which they referred to as the “Hargeisa side,” and in Kenya, referred to as the “Nairobi side.”
The women also organized the “Group of Fifteen,” which included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The group held meetings in a private chatroom that Jama set up to organize and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side,” which was used to fund al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to finance two al-Shabaab safe houses. The terrorist organization used one of the safe houses for weapon storage and to prepare for attacks. The other was a haven for wounded al-Shabaab fighters.
The government’s case was largely based on recorded telephone calls and other communications among the “Group of Fifteen” that demonstrated the defendants’ close connections with al-Shabaab leadership and their access to non-public, inside information regarding al-Shabaab activities.
During one recording, Jama and Dhirane laughed as the massacre at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi took place–an attack in which 67 people were killed and more than 175 wounded. Another recording revealed Dhirane and a co-conspirator laughing about the Boston Marathon bombing before it became known who perpetrated the attack.
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