Posted: December 2, 2003
The U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, sentenced October Martinique Lewis to three years in prison on December 2, 2003, for providing financial support to six men who conspired to help Islamic radicals fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Lewis, 26, who pleaded guilty to six counts of money laundering, sent money overseas to members of her group, dubbed the "Portland Seven" by the media. The men traveled to China in October 2001, then tried several times, unsuccessfully, to enter Afghanistan via Pakistan to fight alongside the Taliban, a movement formed in Afghanistan by extremists who embrace a radical interpretation of Islam. The group also trained with weapons in Oregon in preparation for their travels.
Last week, Judge Robert E. Jones sentenced two other members of the group to 18 years in federal prison on charges of conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. Patrice Lumumba Ford, 32, and Jeffrey Leon Battle, 33, Lewis' ex-husband, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on October 16, 2003.
Prior to their sentencing, prosecutors filed revealing transcripts of recorded conversations between the suspects. According to federal prosecutors, the group named itself "Katibat Al-Mawt," which means "Squad of Death."
The recordings also revealed that Jeffrey Battle considered killing Jews at a synagogue or Jewish school in Portland. Another defendant in the case, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, referred to Jews as "lampshades," a Holocaust reference.
Bilal and his brother Muhammad pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid the Taliban and to federal weapons charges on September 18. The sixth member, Maher Hawash, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges on August 6. They will all face sentencing on February 9, 2004.
The six arrested cell members are American-born U.S. citizens. According to the U.S. Justice Department, the seventh member of the group, its suspected leader, Habis Abdulla al Saoub, a Jordanian who lived in the U.S., was killed in Pakistan in October.
|Top row, left to right: Patrice Lumumba Ford, October Martinique Lewis and Jeffrey Leon Battle. Bottom row, left to right: Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, and Habis Abdulla Al-Saoub are seen in these undated handout photos.