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Yemeni-American Gets 10-Year Sentence in 'Lackawanna Six' Trial - 2003-12-03


A Yemeni-American man who attended an al-Qaida training camp and met with terrorist leader Osama bin Laden before the September 11 terrorist attacks has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Mukhtar al-Bakri was the first of the so-called "Lackawanna Six" to be sentenced.

Earlier this year, the six co-defendants, who lived in Lackawanna, New York, a suburb of the city of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to a charge of providing material support to al-Qaida.

The Bush administration has described the case as a model in the war against terrorism.

Twenty-three-year-old al-Bakri, the youngest member of the group, was the only one arrested outside the United States, in Bahrain. The others were taken into custody in Lackawanna.

The 10-year prison term, along with a $2,000 fine, is expected to be among the most severe sentences because al-Bakri is the only co-defendant who completed the al-Qaida training program.

In a sworn document, al-Bakri admitted meeting Osama bin Laden at the al-Farooq camp in Afghanistan and hearing a speech in which the al-Qaida leader threatened Israel and the United States just months before the September 11 attacks. He also said that he was trained in explosives and assault weapons.

Prior to his arrest last year, authorities intercepted an e-mail message and telephone conversation by al-Bakri that were considered potentially dangerous. But al-Bakri said he was talking about his arranged marriage in the suspected message and conversation.

Al-Bakri's five co-defendants are expected to be sentenced during the next two weeks.

The "Lackawanna Six," struck a deal with prosecutors after one member agreed to testify against the rest. The group first pleaded innocent, saying they went to Afghanistan for religious education and had no advance knowledge of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

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