Rochester women go to trial on terrorism support charges

Trial starts Monday for two Rochester women accused of providing support to a Somali terrorist group. Prosecutors says Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan are part of a pipeline that funneled money to the rebel group al-Shabab. They are charged with raising money to help the group recruit young men to fight in Somalia.
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Trial starts Monday for two Rochester women accused of providing support to a Somali terrorist group. Prosecutors says Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan are part of a pipeline that funneled money to the rebel group al-Shabab. They are charged with raising money to help the group recruit young men to fight in Somalia.

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A Minneapolis federal judge reinstated charges against a woman who refused to stand in court because of her religious beliefs. Amina Farah Ali was cited for contempt 20 times while she stood trial last year. Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan were convicted for providing financial support to the terrorist group Al-Shabab. Tuesday's ruling affects 19 of those charges but the judge dropped the previously imposed jail time. The two have not been sentenced.

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The trial could soon be over for two Rochester women accused of funneling money to a known terrorist group in Somalia. The federal government says the two are part of a pipeline that sends cash and new recruits to Al-Shabab. The women say they were raising money for charity.

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In closing arguments Monday, defense attorneys said the two women were humanitarians who raised money for a group they believed was defending their homeland. One attorney said his client started raising money before the U.S. declared al-Shabab a terrorist group. Prosecutors say that's no defense and that the women knew the group was plotting a takeover.

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Prosecutors are basing their case on more than 80 phone calls, during which the two women from Rochester allegedly discussed funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia. The two are accused of being part of a pipeline that sent money and fighters to al-Shabab.

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One of two Rochester women convicted of aiding terrorists had more than a few words for the judge and court. A federal jury found the women guilty of funneling cash to a militant group in Somalia under the guise of charity.

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A Rochester woman on trial for allegedly funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia is now under arrest for refusing to stand at her trial. Her attorney told the judge, "she does not rise for persons when she does not rise for the prophet."

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One of two Rochester women convicted in a scheme to funnel cash to terrorists in Somalia is refusing to leave her jail cell. Amina Farah Ali says her religion requires her to wear a head covering in public, but Sherburne County Jail prohibits it.