A federal jury convicted three men of an attempted terrorist ring on Thursday. The jury was held for one month and the verdict sentenced Ziyad Yaghi, Hysen Sherifi and Omar Aly Hassan were convicted of a terrorist plot with the intent to carry out attacks on U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA.
The young men were part of a group of eight men who were under federal investigation and were found to have raised money, stockpiled weapons and trained for attacks against U.S. military targets.
The conviction is part of a larger case highlighted by Daniel Boyd who is a U.S. convert to Islam. Investigators say that Boyd is the ringleader of the group but the attorneys for the three North Carolina men say the trial is nothing more than prosecuting young Muslims for watching videos on the internet and trading inane postings on social media sites.
When arrested in 2009 the community surrounding Yaghi, Sherifi and Hassan responded with an outpouring of support, including many mosque members who made the five-hour trip to New Bern to offer moral support to the imprisoned men.
The young men’s defense lawyers point to the lack of evidence and an over zealous federal investigation creating murky waters for a fair trial. None of the FBI collected evidence shows Boyd or his alleged conspirators discussing plans with any of the three defendants.
Other members of the alleged terrorist ring are believed to be at large and living in Pakistan.
Jury convicts 3 North Carolina men in terror trial: The Associated Press, Michael Biesecker