US court jails two women for financing al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya, Somalia

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Muna Osman Jama and Hinda Osman Dhirane were on Friday sentenced to more than a decade in prison for providing support to terror groups in Kenya and Somalia, reports Kenya’s Daily Nation.

The two women Jama, 36, and Dhirane, 46, have been on American officials’ radar for a while and they were also being recorded and have been sentenced to twelve years and eleven years consecutively for conspiracy to provide material support as well as providing material support to Al-Shabaab.

They had been arrested in 2014 and charged with sending money to the terror group which was used to fund military operations and safe houses.

According to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ), both are originally from Somalia and are naturalized Americans citizens.

The accused are said to have used chatrooms to raise the funds and they openly expressed support for the Al-Shabaab.

According to the by the DOJ, one of the safe houses was used by Al-Shabaab to store weapons and prepare for attacks.

The sentences were handed by US District Judge Anthony Trenga.

“Jama and Dhirane were recorded as they laughed as the carnage at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was taking place,” said part of the statement from the Justice Department after their jailing.

Their defense attorney had argued before the court that the women should not be criminally prosecuted based solely on their advocacy for Al-Shabaab saying it is a freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The US Department of Justice said they referred the countries as the “Hargeisa side” and the “Nairobi side noting that they also organised a “Group of Fifteen,”.

These included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The “Group of Fifteen” met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organise and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side.” it read.

“It was used to finance al Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia, and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to fund two al Shabaab safe houses.”

Dhirane and co-conspirator were also recorded as they laughed at the Boston Marathon Bombing before it became known who committed the attack.