Published May 19, 2003
BUFFALO, N.Y. – The last member of the "Lackawanna Six," Yemeni-American men who attended an Al Qaeda (search) terrorist training camp, pleaded guilty to supporting terrorism Monday in federal court.
Mukhtar al-Bakri (search), 23, is expected to get 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10.
Al-Bakri was one of six Yemeni-Americans arrested shortly after the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks under a statute prohibiting the support of known terrorist organizations.
Since January, the Lackawanna (search) men have each described learning to fire weapons and guarding the al-Farooq camp near Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2001, months before the attacks. The men all said they left early because they were disturbed by what they heard.
Al-Bakri, a naturalized citizen, was arrested in the Persian Gulf emirate of Bahrain last September. He graduated from Lackawanna High School, where he played soccer and hockey, according to a family member.
The youngest suspect, al-Bakri sent an obscure e-mail in July titled "The Big Meal" that suggested an attack using explosives was imminent, a prosecutor has said.
"The next meal will be very huge," the e-mail read. "No one will be able to withstand it except those with faith."
His lawyer, John Molloy, said Monday that al-Bakri was just passing on information he had heard. He said it had no significant meaning.
Prosecutor William Hochul called the e-mail "a significant piece of evidence" and that it indicates that al-Bakri was aware of other activities.
Faysal Galab, 27, Shafal Mosed, 24, Sahim Alwan, 30, Yahya Goba, 26, and Yasein Taher, 25, have been offered sentences of between seven and 10 years for their guilty pleas. In all cases, the sentences require they cooperate in future terrorism investigations.
The men could have faced up to 15 years if convicted at a trial.