07/11/2015 10:05 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Indian Man Indicted In US For Helping Al-Qaeda Arrested From Texas

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Silhouette of several muslim militants with rifles

WASHINGTON -- An Indian and another man among the four persons indicted by a federal American court on charges of providing financial support to slain al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki to aid violent jihad, have been arrested in the US, while the rest two are in the UAE.

The two Indians among the indicted are Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37, and his brother Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36. The other two are Asif Ahmed Salim, 35, and his brother Sultane Room Salim, 40.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested Ibrahim in Texas where he lived -- on Thursday, while Sultane was apprehended in Ohio.

All four men have been indicted on one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support and resources to terrorists, one count of providing material support and resources to terrorists and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.

While Ibrahim was arrested in Texas, where he lived, his brother Yahya lives in UAE. Sultane's brother Asif also stays in the UAE.

Attorney Kadri Cherrefe, who represents Sultane, said he has pleaded not guilty.

"Salim has pleaded not guilty. The case has been filed against him and others. The onus is now on the federal prosecutors to produce documents and evidences to prove," Cherrefe told PTI over phone.

Cherrefe said she is only representing Sultane Salim.

It is not known who is representing the other three men in federal court.

Also Read: Two Indian Brothers Indicted In The US For 'Providing Material Support' To Al-Qaeda

Officials from either the FBI or the Department of Justice did not respond to calls and emails on the case.

However, given the past precedence, the Department of Justice would try to get back the other two mentioned in the indictment to the US to face the charges.

Yahya, an Indian citizen, studied engineering at Ohio State University from 2002 to 2004. He married a US citizen in 2008, but has been a resident of the United Arab Emirates since 2004, according to local daily The Toledo Blade in Ohio.

Ibrahim, also an Indian citizen, studied engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2001 to 2005.

He moved to Toledo around 2006, married a US citizen, and became a permanent resident of the US around 2007, moving at some point to Texas, the daily reported.

Asif is a US citizen who studied at Ohio State University between 2000 and 2005. He became a resident of Overland Park, Kansas, in 2007.

His brother, Sultane, is also a US citizen who resided in the Chicago-area from 2006 through 2012, until he moved to the Columbus-area.

Matthew Shepherd, an assistant US attorney, told the court that two of the charges against Salim carry maximum possible sentence of 15 years in prison, while the third carries a possible 20-year sentence, the daily said.

"This is a case that has a statutory presumption for detention because of the nature of the charges," Shepherd said.

The first two counts were both crimes defined as "a federal crime of terrorism," he said.

Also Read: This Kerala Mosque Pays Homage To A Hindu Martyr Every Year

According to the indictment on July 22, 2009, Yahya travelled with two other people to Yemen to meet Awlaki.

They were unable to meet Awlaki, so instead travelled to Sana'a, Yemen, to meet with one of his associates.

Farooq and his two fellow travellers gave the associate approximately USD 22,000 to be given to Awlaki.

The 72-page indictment says that these four persons were questioned by the FBI several times in the past and they lied to the federal investigating agency.

"On or about January 9, 2012, in the United Arab Emirates, Farooq Mohammad made false statements to the Federal Bureau of investigation," the indictment says.

Al-Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in 2011.

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