WASHINGTON – Two women in an internet chat room to raise a few thousand dollars for the Somali militant group al-Shabab have been sentenced to prison.
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Muna Osman Jama, 36, Reston, Virginia, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, had previously been convicted for providing support to a terrorist organization.
On Friday, Jama was sentenced to 12 years and Dhirane to 11 years.
Prosecutors had said that the women used the chat room to make small contributions on behalf of al-Shabab. The women did not deny their sympathy for al-Shabab. But their defense lawyers argued that the money she earned went to people who the are not clearly defined members of al-Shabab. The defense also raised the First Amendment issues, saying their plea for al-Shabab should not be fodder for a criminal conviction.