A Yemeni-American man who attended an al-Qaida training camp and met with terrorist
leader Osama bin Laden before the September 11 terrorist attacks has been sentenced
to 10 years in prison.
Mukhtar al-Bakri was the first of the so-called "Lackawanna Six" to be sentenced.
Earlier this year, the six co-defendants, who lived in Lackawanna, New York,
a suburb of the city of Buffalo, pleaded guilty to a charge of providing material
support to al-Qaida.
The Bush administration has described the case as a model in the war against
Twenty-three-year-old al-Bakri, the youngest member of the group, was the
only one arrested outside the United States, in Bahrain. The others were taken
into custody in Lackawanna.
The 10-year prison term, along with a $2,000 fine, is expected to be among
the most severe sentences because al-Bakri is the only co-defendant who completed
the al-Qaida training program.
In a sworn document, al-Bakri admitted meeting Osama bin Laden at the al-Farooq
camp in Afghanistan and hearing a speech in which the al-Qaida leader threatened
Israel and the United States just months before the September 11 attacks. He
also said that he was trained in explosives and assault weapons.
Prior to his arrest last year, authorities intercepted an e-mail message
and telephone conversation by al-Bakri that were considered potentially dangerous.
But al-Bakri said he was talking about his arranged marriage in the suspected
message and conversation.
Al-Bakri's five co-defendants are expected to be sentenced during the next
The "Lackawanna Six," struck a deal with prosecutors after one member agreed
to testify against the rest. The group first pleaded innocent, saying they
went to Afghanistan for religious education and had no advance knowledge of
the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.