Former Alabama student gets 7 years for hiding terrorism funds to al Qaeda

The defense argued her childhood and mental health issues made her vulnerable to the dangers of the internet

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A former University of Alabama student was sentenced Wednesday to seven and a half years in prison for concealing financing to the Islamic terrorist group, al Qaeda

Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 26, was also ordered to spend 10 years on supervised release following the prison term, prosecutors said in a statement.

Alaa Mohd Abusaad

Alaa Mohd Abusaad (Shelby County jail)

Abusaad pleaded guilty in 2019 to a charge of concealing terrorism financing after she told an undercover FBI employee how to send money to fighters engaged in terrorism and that money "is always needed," authorities said. 

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She told the agent to use fake names and addresses when sending electronic transfers to avoid detection by police. Prosecutors said Abusaad also introduced the undercover agent to a financial facilitator who route money to "brothers that work with aq (al Qaeda)." 

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The defense argued Abusaad's childhood and mental health issues made her vulnerable to the dangers of the internet, WBMA-TV reported. Court documents described a young girl ostracized by being the only Muslim family in housing projects in Tuscaloosa, where she faced bullying from other children and a teacher.

The Associated Press contributed to this report