ATLANTA–Two Georgia men with ties to members of the so-called Toronto 18 terror cell have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for conspiring to support terrorist groups by sending homemade videos of U.S. landmarks overseas.
Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 23, was sentenced to 17 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of four terror-related charges in August. He faced a maximum sentence of as many as 60 years behind bars.
Hours later, Sadequee's friend, Syed Haris Ahmed, was sentenced to 13 years in prison on a charge of conspiring to support terrorist groups. The 25-year-old could have received as many as 15 years in prison after his June conviction.
The men, who are both American citizens, were also sentenced to 30 years in supervised release.
Court heard the co-conspirators developed relationships over the Internet with other supporters of violent jihad in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Pakistan, Bosnia and beyond.
In March 2005, they travelled to Toronto by bus to meet members of the Toronto 18, an alleged homegrown terror cell that was broken up by Canadian authorities in June 2006 when 14 men and four youths from the GTA were arrested.
Since the mass arrests, seven of those charged from the Toronto group have had their charges stayed, five have been convicted and six are awaiting trial.
A court in Atlanta was told that during the week-long trip to Canada, the American men met several times, including once in an unidentified Toronto mosque, with two Toronto 18 members, whose trial is expected to start in the spring.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McBurney told the Georgia court that online chatter revealed one of the Toronto men had spoken with Ahmed and Sadequee about going to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, during court proceedings in Toronto, evidence was heard that the trio spoke of attacking oil refineries and military bases, as well as disabling global positioning satellites.
About a month after the Toronto trip, Ahmed and Sadequee travelled to Washington to videotape potential targets for terrorist attacks, including the Pentagon, the Capitol and World Bank.
Later, the "casing videos" were found on the London computer of Al Qaeda online propagandist Younis Tsouli, also known as "Irhabi 007" (Terrorist 007), who is now serving 10 years in prison for inciting terrorist acts over the Internet.