Two pairs of brothers with Ohio connections face federal terrorism charges relating to funneling money to Al-Qaeda, and at least one suspect has plead not guilty.
Sultane Room Salim appeared in federal court on Thursday in Toledo and was ordered to stay in jail, according to the Associated Press.
Federal prosecutors say the suspects, including two former Ohio State University students, collaborated to send money and other support to former Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. US officials have linked Mr. al-Awlaki to the preparation and implementation of several attacks against Western interests, including a foiled 2009 “underwear bombing” attempt, the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, and an attempted Time Square bombing in 2010. He was killed in a 2011 US drone strike.
Two other suspects charged in the scheme are living in the United Arab Emirates and are not in custody. The fourth was arrested outside Dallas on Thursday. Court documents do not indicate any of them have attorneys.
According to an indictment filed in federal court, they allegedly tried to raise money via fraudulent credit card charges and send it to al-Awlaki over roughly seven years starting in 2005. The indictment said in 2009, one of the men traveled to Yemen and handed $22,000 to one of Awlaki’s associates.
Federal prosecutors said the money was meant to help execute violence against US soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All four suspects face charges of providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to obstruct justice
According to the indictment, the suspects are:
- Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, an Indian citizen who was enrolled at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign from 2001-05 and has been living in Toledo since 2006. He is charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
- His brother, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, also an Indian citizen who was enrolled at Ohio State from 2002-2004 and has been living in the UAE since then. He faces the same charge.
- Sultane Room Salim, a US citizen who lived in the Chicago-area from 2006-12, later moving to the Columbus area.
- And his brother, Asif Ahmed Salim, also a US citizen who attended Ohio State from 2000-05. He lived in Overland Park, Kansas, during 2007-2011 until moving to the UAE.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.