Prosecutor: Man helped college student join Islamic State

NEW YORK (AP) — An Arizona man charged with conspiring to assist a terrorism group offered a “launching pad” for a New York school scholar to hitch the Islamic State group in Syria, a prosecutor advised jurors on the opening of his trial.

However a protection lawyer stated her shopper was being blamed as a scapegoat.

Assistant U.S. Lawyer Andrew DeFilippis urged Manhattan federal courtroom jurors to rigorously take heed to proof towards forty four-yr-previous Ahmed Mohammed el-Gammal earlier than convicting the Avondale, Arizona, resident at a trial anticipated to last as long as a month. He stated el-Gammal wasn’t a fighter or a terrorist operative however assisted the Islamic State by serving to Samy el-Goarany attain Syria, the place he educated and fought for the group.

DeFilippis stated el-Gammal helped the Islamic State “discover another individual, yet one more recruit, another fighter who was prepared to coach, to struggle and to kill.”

He stated el-Gammal communicated on-line with el-Goarany and visited him in New York for 2 days in October 2014, simply weeks earlier than el-Goarany flew to Turkey on his approach to Syria.

DeFilippis stated jurors would see a video el-Goarany made after el-Gammal’s arrest through which the 24-yr-previous, clad in army fatigues, insists he received himself to Syria with out assist from others. The prosecutor referred to as it “a clear, virtually ridiculous denial, highly effective proof of what did occur.”

He stated el-Goarany’s mother and father and brother have been desperately making an attempt to get him to return house once they acquired a letter in fall 2015 saying he was killed in battle. He stated trial witnesses would come with relations who will describe the phrases and actions of el-Goarany within the days earlier than he left the USA.

“He was too far down the trail the defendant had helped pave for him,” DeFilippis stated. “He acted as a launching pad for el-Goarany’s mission.”

Protection lawyer Annalisa Miron stated the trial ought to finish in acquittal.

“Mr. Ahmed el-Gammal shouldn’t be responsible,” she stated.

Miron stated her shopper was a typical American who smokes cigarettes, listens to rhythm and blues music and takes weekend journeys to Las Vegas.

She stated members of el-Goarany’s household, together with his brother and a cousin, knew he was going to hitch the Islamic State group. She stated the Baruch School scholar deliberate his personal journey to Syria.

“The federal government is on the lookout for someone responsible,” she stated.

If convicted, el-Gammal might face many years in jail.

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