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US Sentences al-Qaida Recruit to 40 Years in Prison

  • VOA News

A U.S. district court in New York has sentenced Ming Quang Pham, a British citizen of Vietnamese descent, to 40 years in prison for terrorism, based on his support of the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Pham's sentence Friday.

In January, Pham — a practicing Muslim also known as Amin — pleaded guilty to one count of providing material support, one count of conspiring to receive military training from the group, and one count of possessing and using a machine gun in furtherance of crimes of violence.

John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security, said in Friday's statement that Pham got explosives training in Yemen from American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Court documents say Pham traveled to Yemen via Britain in 2010 to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. While there, he worked on the group's recruitment magazine, Inspire, editing videos and photos and appearing in some promotional photos himself.

Before returning to Britain in 2011, Pham worked with Awlaki to plan a suicide attack on London's Heathrow International Airport, targeting incoming flights from the United States and Israel. British security agents detained Pham at Heathrow, foiling the plot. Pham was extradited to the United States in February 2015 and was convicted 11 months later.

Al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen in 2011, a few months after Pham left the country.

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