October 20, 2011
Minneapolis, MN – There were tears and anger at the Federal Courthouse here, Oct. 20, after Hawo Mohamed Hassan and Amina Farah Ali, two Somali American women who raised money for charities assisting Somalia’s poor, were found guilty of providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations.
Supporters of Ali and Hassan, mainly women, packed the courtroom as the all white jury returned with the guilty verdict. An overflow crowd of Somali women and men filled the plaza outdoors, along with members of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR). After the verdict, everyone gathered outside, where many cried, prayed and expressed anger at the injustice.
Steff Yorek of the CSFR said, “We showed up to the Federal Courthouse this morning to wait with the women – and that was the right thing to do. All of the women were very welcoming. Amina took time from her prayers to thank us for being there.”
Both women were convicted of conspiracy to provide material support for a foreign terrorist organization. In addition, Ali was convicted of 12 counts of providing material support and Hassan was convicted of two counts of lying to FBI agents. Each count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization carries a 15-year sentence.
The women were accused of helping al-Shabab, an Islamist organization that fights to free Somalia from foreign domination.
Amina Farah Ali, 35, is taking care of her paralyzed mother and two children. Hawo Mohamed Hassan is 64 and is battling many health problems. Both women were taken into custody and are now in jail. Sentencing will take place sometime in the next few months.
Mick Kelly, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression stated, “These women have done nothing wrong. They care about the people of Somalia and worked to make the country a better place. The U.S. government has no business dictating what political party, religion or social movements that the Somali people chose to support. The laws on ‘material support for terrorism’ should be scrapped.”
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression will help to mobilize activities around the sentencing and the appeals.