NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Brooklyn bookstore owner who pleaded guilty to conspiring to transfer funds to militant groups in Afghanistan and Chechnya was sentenced on Monday to 13 years in prison.
Abdulrahman Farhane, 52, was sentenced in Manhattan federal court after pleading guilty in November to one count of conspiring to launder money and one count of lying to federal agents.
During the sentencing, prosecutors said after the September 11 attacks Farhane met frequently with Mohamed Alanssi, an FBI informant, and the two discussed sending money to jihadists.
Farhane was part of a larger case that accused four men with conspiring to provide material support to groups the United States says are involved in terrorist activities, all of which depended on Alanssi’s testimony.
Alanssi’s credibility was later called into question by defense attorneys when, in 2004, he attempted suicide by setting himself on fire in front of the White House in protest against his treatment by the FBI.
Two others — Tariq Ibn Osman Shah, a New York City jazz musician and martial arts instructor, and Mahmud Faruq Brent, a Maryland taxi driver — also pleaded guilty but have not yet been sentenced.
The fourth defendant, Rafiq Sabir, a doctor from Boca Raton, Florida, is scheduled to go on trial later this month.
Prosecutors said that Farhane, who moved to America from Morocco in 1987, stocked his store with anti-American books and that his address book read like “a Who’s Who of terrorist financiers in the United States.”
Two of Farhane’s children, who spoke with reporters after the sentencing, said that Farhane had been manipulated by Alanssi.
“Yes, he pleaded guilty because that was the only way out,” said his daughter, Asmaa Farhane.
They said that Farhane was an especially vulnerable target for federal investigators because he speaks little English and suffers from depression and what they described as “mental illness.”