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Briton pleads guilty to terror-related charges in U.S. court

Source: Reuters - Tue, 10 Dec 2013 04:31 PM
Author: Reuters
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(Updates with guilty plea entered)

By Richard Weizel

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec 10 (Reuters) - A British national accused of operating a website that promoted jihad and supported al Qaeda pleaded guilty in a U.S. court on Tuesday to charges of providing material support for terrorists and an associate was due to appear later in the day.

The first man, Babar Ahmad, said in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that he was guilty of two counts of providing support to terrorists but did not plead guilty to two additional charges that also included conspiracy to injure the property of a foreign government and money laundering.

U.S. prosecutors said that Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan ran a website that raised funds for Muslim militants in Afghanistan and Chechnya. The two were extradited to the United States from Britain last year.

Ahmad, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, stood with his hands behind his back and gave brief answers to questions from District Judge Janet Hall, who said she would review his plea and set sentencing for March 4.

Ahsan, who previously pleaded not guilty, is due in court at 12:30 p.m. ET (1730 GMT) for a change of plea hearing, according to court papers.

Ahmad faces the possibility of up to 25 years in prison and two to five years' probation. Ahsan faces up to 15 years. Each could be fined up to $500,000.

They were among five men extradited to the United States from Britain last year to face terrorism-related charges. That group also included one-eyed radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri on charges related to a 1998 hostage-taking in Yemen. (Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Steve Orlofsky and Nick Zieminski)

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