Individuals who are accused of acts of terrorism against the U.S. face a harsher social reaction, and in some cases more serious legal ramifications, than other people facing criminal accusations. The trial of a New York man accused of planning to commit terrorist acts against the U.S. while in the Middle East recently concluded in federal court. The man faced numerous charges, including plotting to commit murder while overseas, as well as the attempt to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization. He was also charged with the conspiracy to use a machine gun to carry out violent crimes against U.S. citizens.

The prosecution alleged that the 23-year-old man made his way from New York to Cairo, Egypt in 2009. His goal at that time was to commit “jihad” against U.S. troops. Jihad is an Arabic word meaning “struggle” and is associated with committing acts of war permissible under Islam.

While in Cairo, the young man made an attempt to procure an automatic weapon before traveling to Somalia in the hopes of joining a terrorist network. Six months after arriving in Cairo, he was apprehended by police in Kosovo, where he was allegedly planning an attack on U.S. troops stationed there. He was handed over to U.S. officials and extradited back to the U.S.

During court testimony, it was revealed that the young New York man had been swayed into radical terrorism by watching videos published by terrorist networks. He will be sentenced Nov. 4 and the series of allegations against him could lead to a life-long jail term. In cases like these, where allegations of serious violent crimes could lead to severe sentencing, a strong criminal defense is the defendant’s best hope for achieving the best possible result.

Source: The International Herald Tribune, “American who plotted against US troops convicted“, 09 July 2011.