The trial of two Minnesotans accused of funneling money to a designated terrorist group in Somalia held closing arguments on Oct. 17, 2011. The two women each face one charge of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Shabaab, a U.S. designated terrorist organization that operates in Somalia, and other charges. Attorneys for the defendants claim they were helping their fellow Somalis and unaware of the U.S. designation of al-Shabaab as a terrorist group. Al-Shabaab was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government in February 2008.
The prosecution accuses Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan of soliciting money in the U.S. to support al-Shabaab’s efforts in Somalia. During the trial, prosecutors presented recorded telephone calls in which they claim the defendants, U.S. citizens of Somali descent, had discussed sending money to al-Shabaab. The women were among 20 people from Minnesota who have been named in federal charges for allegedly aiding al-Shabaab. Along with the charge of conspiracy to provide material support, Ali faces 12 additional counts of providing material aid for allegedly sending nearly $8,600 to people in Somalia between September 2008 and July 2009. Hassan also faces two counts of making false statements to the FBI.