Nigerian Pleads Guilty To Terror Charge In US Court
A Nigerian has pleaded guilty in New York to charges he took part in a Yemen-based al-Qaida faction’s efforts to spread propaganda intended to encourage terror attacks.
Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi entered the plea on Tuesday to charges of providing material support to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. He faces up to 30 years in prison at his August sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn.
The 33-year-old Babafemi was extradited last year from Nigeria. U.S. prosecutors say he traveled to Yemen in 2010 to help the al-Qaida group recruit English speakers for its media operations.
The operations included publication of an online magazine for aspiring terrorists. The magazine has published recipes for homemade bombs and suggested targets in the United States and elsewhere.
The plea came ahead of a July 14 trial date.
Prosecutors said that, from January 2010 to August 2011, Babafemi traveled from Nigeria to Yemen twice to meet with leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, known as AQAP.
“The defendant traveled to Yemen to put himself at the disposal of a violent terrorist organization that has repeatedly demonstrated its determination to inflict bodily and economic harm on the United States and its citizens,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement.
The U.S. government said Babafemi worked on AQAP’s media operations, including the publication of its magazine, called “Inspire.”
The group’s leadership, including Anwar al-Awlaki, paid Babafemi almost $9,000 to recruit English-speaking people from Nigeria, prosecutors said. Awlaki, a U.S. citizen born in New Mexico, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011.
An indictment unsealed in February 2013 charged Babafemi, also known as “Ayatollah Mustapha,” with four counts including conspiracy to provide material support to AQAP, and use of firearms.
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson scheduled sentencing for August 27. Babafemi faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Source: Sahara Reporters