LONDON – Identical twin brothers from Somalia have been sentenced to three years in prison in Britain for raising money to fund terrorism abroad, officials said Wednesday.
The 25-year-old brothers, Mohammed Shabir Ali and Mohammed Shafiq Ali, were sentenced at London's Central Criminal Court, a day after pleading guilty in a plea bargain.
They were part of a "network of support" for their 29-year-old brother, Mohammed Shamim Ali, who was undergoing terrorist training in Somalia, prosecutor Timothy Cray said. They were recorded speaking by telephone with their brother about posing as charity collectors, Cray said.
The twins were originally charged with assisting others to commit acts of terror abroad. That carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, compared to a maximum of 14 years for the fund-raising charge.
After their April arrests the brothers also were charged with possessing a manual titled "44 Ways to Support Jihad" written by senior al-Qaida recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed last year by a U.S. drone attack in Yemen. That charge was set aside on Tuesday.
Police were unable to determine how much money the twins sent to their brother, but the pair pleaded guilty to the charge on the basis that it was 3,000 pounds ($4,700).
"It is accepted by the prosecution that they sent funds primarily out of concern for their brother's physical and mental health, although it is important to note this was in the context of his planned involvement in terrorism," said Judge Adrian Fulford.
"It is clear that they knew that their brother needed financial assistance and why," the judge added.
Fulford said he took into account that the men are of previous good character and had shown a "strong element of responsibility" by testifying at a trial earlier this year which helped to convict four men of murder.