Two Men Indicted in Fund-Raising for Terrorists
Published: September 17, 2004  (must register to view original article)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - Two men were charged in a federal indictment on Thursday with raising money to support terrorists and recruiting would-be terrorists to fight in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo and Somalia.

The indictment, by a grand jury in Miami, said the men had discussed recruiting an unidentified American paid to train in the Mideast. A federal law enforcement official identified the American as Jose Padilla of Chicago, who is being held in a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C., as an unlawful enemy combatant.

The two men indicted were already facing criminal charges here and in Egypt. Attorney General John Ashcroft identified them as Adham Amin Hassoun, who also goes by the name Abu Sayyaf, and Mohamed Hesham Youssef, who also goes by the name Abu Turab. Both are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

"This indictment alleges that an individual living here in the United States, enjoying all the freedoms that our society has to offer, was secretly plotting to support murder and terror being perpetrated by violent jihadists overseas," Mr. Ashcroft said of Mr. Hassoun.

Mr. Hassoun, a Palestinian from Sunrise, Fla., who is a computer programmer, has been in custody in Florida since June 2003 on other charges relating to reportedly misleading information that he gave to law enforcement officials and to his possession of a firearm.

Mr. Youssef is jailed in Egypt on a terrorism conviction. The Justice Department did not provide his residence.

The indictment charges that Mr. Hassoun wrote checks from 1994 to late 2001 to unindicted co-conspirators and groups, including the Holy Land Foundation and the Global Relief Foundation, to support jihad. The two groups reportedly have ties to terrorism financing.

In July 2004, the Holy Land Foundation and seven of its leaders were indicted on charges of providing material support to Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization. The Treasury Department has designated the Global Relief Foundation as an organization that funneled money for terrorist-related activities.

Mr. Ashcroft said more than $53,000 was raised and scheduled to support a jihad, or violent holy war, against the West.

The 10-count indictment also charges that the men had coded conversations from 1996 through 2000 that suggested participation in jihad in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kosovo and Somalia. In one conversation in September 1996, Mr. Youssef, who was in Egypt, reportedly told Mr. Hassoun that he was "ready for trade immediately."

Mr. Hassoun reportedly responded with, "By God, there is now trade in Somalia,'' and, "Get yourself ready to go down there to see," and added that "there is jihad" in Somalia.