War on Terrorism

Friday, October 01, 2010

Chicago Man Indicted for Allegedly Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization

CHICAGO—A Chicago man who was arrested last month for allegedly planning to travel to Somalia and engage in fighting with a foreign terrorist organization, was indicted on the same charges by a federal grand jury, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the FBI, announced today.

Shaker Masri, 27, who lived in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, was indicted on one count of attempting to provide material support to al Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization, and one count of attempting to provide material support by use of a weapon of mass destruction outside the United States. He will be arraigned at a later date in U.S. District Court.

Masri was arrested on Aug. 3 by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism task Force (JTTF), just hours before he was scheduled to leave Chicago en route to Somalia. Since then, he was ordered detained in federal custody without bond.

According to a criminal complaint filed at the time his arrest, Masri, a U.S. citizen, began espousing increasingly violent views to an individual he befriended in early 2009, and later began to openly express a desire to participate in a “jihad” and to fight against what he characterized as “infidels.” During the weeks before his arrest, Masri began to actively plan a trip to Somalia, where he hoped to join the specially designated terrorist group al Shabaab and commit a suicide attack targeting “infidels,” the complaint alleged.
Both counts carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only allegations and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trail at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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