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2 Minnesota women sentenced in Somali terror case

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Two Minnesota women convicted of conspiring to send money to al-Shabab in Somalia were given prison sentences in federal court Thursday, ending a week of punishments tied to long-running investigations into terrorism recruiting and financing for the terrorist group.

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Amina Farah Ali was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 13 terrorism-related counts, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan received a 10-year term on one terror-related count and two counts of lying to the FBI.

Ali insisted during her 3½-hour hearing in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis that she was only trying to help the poor in the war-torn East African country of which she is a native.

Chief Judge Michael Davis asked Ali whether those who she collected money from knew that it would be going to al-Shabab. The al-Qaida-linked group is at the heart of much of the violence in Somalia in recent years.

“I did not send the money to al-Shabab. Al-Shabab was a vehicle used to get the money to the needy. It was not used for their own purposes,” Ali said.

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