WASHINGTON – Two women who used an internet chat room to raise several thousand dollars for the Somali militant group al-Shabab have been sentenced to prison.
Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, Virginia, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, had previously been convicted of providing support to a terrorist organization.
On Friday, Jama was sentenced to12 years and Dhirane to 11 years.
Prosecutors had said the women used the chat room to round up small contributions on behalf of al-Shabab. The women did not deny their sympathies for al-Shabab. But their defense lawyers argued that the money they raised went to people who were not clearly defined members of al-Shabab. The defense also raised First Amendment issues, saying their advocacy for al-Shabab should not be fodder for a criminal conviction.