KEY POINTS

  • The woman spoke to an FBI undercover employee about transferring funds to Al Qaeda
  • She gave instructions on using fake names and addresses to avoid getting caught
  • She pleaded guilty in 2019 to a charge of concealing terrorism financing

A former University of Alabama student was given a prison sentence of more than seven years for concealing the transmission of funds to Al-Qaeda.

Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, was sentenced Wednesday to 90 months behind bars, federal prosecutors said.

The former college student was arrested in 2018 for speaking to an undercover FBI employee about sending money to terrorist fighters. She pleaded guilty to a charge of concealing terrorism financing in 2019, according to New York Post.

Abusaad was sentenced “to 90 months, the equivalent of seven and a half years, in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for concealing the transmission of funds to be provided as material support to al-Qaida, a designated foreign terrorist organization," the Department of Justice news release said.

Abusaad was living in Tuscaloosa when she committed the crimes she is accused of. She was caught speaking to an FBI undercover employee (UCE) between February and April 2018 about how to send money to the mujahideen, described in the news release as “fighters engaged in jihad.”

In their conversations over a mobile messaging app, Abusaad gave instructions to the UCE about using fake names and addresses while sending electronic transfers to avoid being caught by law enforcement. 

The former college student also told the agent that money “...is always needed. You can’t have a war without weapons. You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.”

Officials said Abusaad also introduced the UCE to a financial facilitator, who could help ensure the money reaches the "brothers that work with aq (meaning al-Qaida),” according to the news release.

The undercover agent sent $50 through Western Union to Mustafa Yelatan in Turkey in April 2018, AL.com reported. She then reportedly told the agent: “And remember they can’t do anything to you. You were completely covered. May Allah protect you. And plus it’s a fake… Just be confident and don’t stress.”

Abusaad was arrested in Ohio in October 2018.

Court documents described Abusaad as an isolated young girl, coming from the only Muslim family in housing projects in her area, WBMA-TV reported, according to the News & Observer. The defense said she was at risk of falling into the dangers of the internet because of her childhood and mental health issues. She was also reportedly bullied by other children as well as a teacher.

handcuffs-964522_640 Representation Photo: Pixabay