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Homeland Security

04 March 2003

U.S. Charges Two Yemeni Citizens with Aiding Terrorists

(German law enforcement credited with assisting in their arrest)
(1250)
The U.S. Justice Department announced March 4 that two Yemeni citizens
have been charged with conspiring to provide material support to the
al-Qaeda and HAMAS terrorist groups.
Mohammed Al Hasan Al-Moayad and Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed were
arrested January 10 in Frankfurt, Germany, after a year-long
investigation and undercover operation by the FBI's Joint Terrorism
Task Force.
In a March 4 press release, the Justice Department said the arrests
"could not have taken place without the substantial assistance of our
friends in German law enforcement."
"Prosecutions like this target the very lifeline of the terrorist
organization," stated U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern
District of New York, where the complaints that led to the arrest were
issued. "By cutting off the flow of money, weapons and other tangible
support, we can cripple these organizations and prevent them from
carrying out future attacks against innocent civilians."
Following is the text of the press release:
(begin text)
U.S. Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
March 4, 2003
YEMENI CITIZENS ARRESTED FOR CONSPIRING TO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO
AL-QAEDA, HAMAS, AND OTHER TERRORIST GROUPS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Attorney General John Ashcroft, Assistant Attorney
General Michael Chertoff of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney
Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern District of New York, and FBI
Director Robert Mueller announced today that two Yemeni citizens have
been charged with conspiring to provide material support to the
al-Qaeda and HAMAS terrorist groups.
The defendants, Mohammed Al Hasan Al-Moayad, 54, of Sanaa, Yemen, and
Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed, 29, also of Yemen, were arrested on
January 10, 2003, in Frankfurt, Germany, based on complaints issued in
Brooklyn, New York. Those complaints were unsealed today, and the U.S.
government has requested the extradition of the defendants from
Germany to the United States as soon as possible.
"These arrests could not have taken place without the substantial
assistance of our friends in German law enforcement. The breadth of
talent of the team fielded in this case literally spanned the globe --
from the FBI agents in New York City to prosecutors in Frankfurt,
Germany," said Attorney General Ashcroft. "This is the new FBI --
focused on preventing terrorism, integrating intelligence and law
enforcement, and delivering results. These results make Americans
safer and bring justice to the full network of terror."
Al-Moayad and Zayed were arrested by Germany's Bundeskriminalamt (BKA)
at the request of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation after a year-long investigation and undercover operation
by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. The investigation focused on
Al-Moayad's supply of money, recruits, weapons and communication
equipment to al-Qaeda, HAMAS and other Islamic extremist groups. The
investigation revealed that Al-Moayad, an official in the Islah
political party in Yemen and the Imam -- or spiritual leader -- of the
al-Ihsan Mosque in Sanaa, has substantial and direct ties to
UsamaOsama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
According to the complaint, a confidential informant (CI) working with
the FBI met with Al-Moayad in January 2002, and was told by Al-Moayad
in subsequent conversations that he regularly provides money to
support Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kashmir.
Al-Moayad also stated during this and other conversations with the CI
that he had supplied al-Qaeda with arms and communication equipment in
the past, delivering more than $20 million to al-Qaeda prior to
September 11, 2001. Al-Moayad even boasted of several meetings with
UsamaOsama bin Laden, and said he personally delivered the $20 million
to bin Laden, with much of this money coming from contributors in the
United States, including Brooklyn. In one meeting with the informant,
Al-Moayad said he had received money for the jihad that was collected
at the Al Farouq mosque in Brooklyn.
According to the complaint, the FBI's confidential informant attended
a mass wedding in Yemen on September 19, 2002, hosted by Al-Moayad. At
the mass wedding -- which are sometimes thrown as celebratory
farewells for men who are preparing to embark on jihad assignments --
a speech was given by Mohammed Siam, one of the founders of HAMAS.
After thanking Al-Moayad, Siam praised a "HAMAS operation" that had
just occurred in Tel Aviv, Israel, and suggested that the organizers
of the wedding must have known of the HAMAS mission. That same day, a
suicide bomber detonated a bomb on a bus in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing
five people and injuring more than 50 others. HAMAS and another
militant Islamic group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The complaint also states that American investigators have obtained
"Mujahideen Identification Forms," found in Afghanistan, which contain
background information on individuals entering a "training camp." One
such form indicated that a "Sheikh Mohammed Al Moayad" had referred a
Yemeni man to the camp for training.
The complaint also outlines a series of financial transactions by
associates of Al-Moayad in the United States that appear to be
designed to evade federally mandated financial reporting requirements
-- a tactic frequently used by those engaging in the funding of
overseas terrorist organizations and entities.
According to the complaint, bank records for one of Al-Moayad's
associates show deposits totaling $109,000 in 25 separate transactions
in March 1997, and deposits totaling $176,000 in 27 separate
transactions from June to September, 2001. Bank records from a former
Brooklyn, New York, business of an Al-Moayad associate show, among
other things, the deposit from April to June, 2001, of more than
$300,000 in cash to different bank branches, all under the reporting
requirement limits.
The Zayed complaint alleges that he joined Al-Moayad at meetings with
confidential informants in Frankfurt, Germany, in January 2003, and
"swore to Allah" that a financial contribution to Al-Moayad would be
used for its intended purposes -- to support the Mujahideen fighters
of al-Qaeda and HAMAS.
Al-Moayad and Zayed are charged with violating Section 2339B of Title
18 of the United States Code, which prohibits anyone from knowingly
providing or conspiring to provide material support to a foreign
terrorist organization (FTO), as designated by the State Department.
al-Qaeda was first designated an FTO in October 1999; that two-year
designation was renewed in October 2001. HAMAS was first designated an
FTO in October 1997; that designation has been renewed twice.
For the conduct presently alleged against them, Al-Moayad and Zayed
are facing possible prison sentences of up to 60 and 30 years,
respective. If their actions are ultimately connected to terrorist
acts resulting in death, however, the material support statute
provides that they can be imprisoned for life.
"Prosecutions like this target the very lifeline of the terrorist
organization," stated U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf of the Eastern
District of New York. "By cutting off the flow of money, weapons and
other tangible support, we can cripple these organizations and prevent
them from carrying out future attacks against innocent civilians."
This arrest was part of a joint, cooperative effort by U.S. and German
law enforcement, on both the local and federal levels. The U.S.
Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Criminal
Division of the Justice Department, and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation were all actively involved in bringing the charges,
along with detectives from the New York City Police Department.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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