Man jailed for links to terrorist funding

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The Independent US

A New Yorker has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for trying to funnel money to a terrorism training camp in Afghanistan through an undercover agent posing as a wealthy Middle Easterner.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded guilty in September to terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Alvin Hellerstein sentenced him to 121 months, plus three years of supervised release. He faced up to 20 years behind bars.

Alishtari was operating a phoney loan investment programme when he met the agent. Prosecutors said he accepted an unspecified amount of money from the agent to transfer $152,500 he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support a terrorist training camp.

Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, thought the money would be used to buy night vision goggles, medical supplies and other equipment, and advised the agent he had to be "three steps away" from the money so it could not be traced back to him.

Defence lawyers had argued that Alishtari was interested in profits, not terrorism. But the judge said: "You knew these ends were assisting terrorism... that it was on the edge of causing substantial death and destruction."

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