Updated: June 22, 2004
Saudi Graduate Student Acquitted
Sami Omar Al-Hussayen was acquitted of charges that he used the Internet to help terrorist organizations recruit members, raise money, and locate potential American targets overseas.
Prosecutors had said that he turned certain web sites into an online network providing information to foster terrorism.
Al-Hussayen was acquitted on all three terrorism counts he faced, as well as one count of making a false statement and two counts of visa fraud. Jurors could not reach verdicts on three more false statement counts and five additional visa fraud counts, and a mistrial was declared on those charges.
Idaho Student Pleads Innocent to Terrorism Charges
Posted: January 14, 2004
A graduate student at the University of Idaho pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists on January 12, 2003, in federal court in Boise, Idaho.
Sami Omar Hussayen, 34, a doctoral candidate in computer science, is accused of using the Internet to help terrorist organizations recruit members, raise money, and locate potential American targets overseas.
According to the January 8 indictment, Hussayen operated an Arab language e-mail group that encouraged Muslims to "fight the idolator with your money, your selves, your tongues and your prayers." Hussayen's e-mail messages recommend that people donate money to provide terrorists with the "weapons and physical strength" for war.
Prosecutors said that last February Hussayen's e-mail group issued an "urgent appeal" to Muslims in the military to provide logistical information on potential American targets in the Middle East. Other messages urged an attack on a high-ranking American military officer and included instructions on how to train at a particular terrorist camp.
The 12-count indictment also claims that Hussayen "knew and intended that the material support he provided were to be used in preparation for, and to commit, violations of federal law involving murder, maiming, kidnapping and the destruction of property." Hussayen created the e-mail group four years ago, which had 2,400 subscribers at its peak.
Hussayen's indictment is the first in which the U.S. government has suggested that using the Internet for recruitment and fund-raising can constitute providing "material support or resources" for terrorist activity.
Hussayen, a Saudi citizen, has been in federal custody since February 26, 2003, when he was arrested and charged with immigration fraud for not revealing that he was running the Web site of the Islamic Assembly of North America, based in Detroit, Michigan.
Hussayen, who faces 15 years in prison if convicted, is scheduled to go to trial on February 17.
For more information on how Islamic terrorists and their supporters utilize the Internet to spread propaganda, search for recruits, raise funds and plan future attacks, see Jihad Online: Islamic Terrorists and the Internet.