Saudi man sentenced to 12 years for hiding attendance at Al Qaeda training camp
A former Oklahoma resident was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for visa fraud and concealment of his attendance at an Al Qaeda training camp, authorities said Thursday.
Naif Abdulaziz M. Alfallaj, 35, a Saudi Arabian citizen, was arrested on February 2018 based on a criminal complaint in Oklahoma alleging he'd lied to the FBI and attended terror training sites in Afghanistan.
"The U.S. government identified the defendant after finding his fingerprints on an application to join Al Qaeda that the U.S. military had gathered from the battlefields of Afghanistan,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers of the National Security Division said in a Justice Department statement.
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Alfallaj pleaded guilty to possessing a visa obtained by fraud from March 2012 to 2018 and making false statements to the FBI.
Federal prosecutors said he came to the U.S. in 2011 on a nonimmigrant visa based on his wife's foreign student status. He allegedly lied on his visa application about whether he supports terrorists or terror groups.
The FBI said it found 15 of Alfallaj's fingerprints on an application to an Al Qaeda training site in Afghanistan leading up to the 9/11 attacks. American forces found the document in an Afghan safe house. It included an emergency phone number associated with Alfallaj's father in Saudi Arabia.
“We were able to match those fingerprints with fingerprints taken for his U.S. visa application and to determine that he had made false statements in that application in order to conceal his attendance at an Al Qaeda training camp in 2000," Demers said.
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"He also admitted he falsely told federal agents during the December 2017 interview that he had never visited Afghanistan or participated in religious, tactical, or military training outside Saudi Arabia, and otherwise affirmed falsely that all of the answers on his nonimmigrant visa application were true and correct,” the news release states.
In 2013, Alfallaj inquired in an online forum about fighting in Afghanistan or Chechnya, prosecutors said.
He will be deported once he completes his prison sentence.