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PA husband and wife plead guilty to helping relatives who joined ISIS

ISIS flag (DoD Photo/Released)

A Pennsylvania husband and wife originally from Bangladesh pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Philadelphia to providing support to family members who joined ISIS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Shahidul Gaffar, 40, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and his wife, Nabila Khan, 35, a legal permanent resident, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization.

The maximum sentences for both would be five years in prison, $250,000 fines, and three years of supervised release. Court documents show that Gaffar and Khan were listed as not in custody when they appeared in court to make their pleas. Prosecutors identified Gaffar and Khan as Pennsylvania residents but did not say specifically where they were living.

The financial support, amounting to several thousand dollars, according to the newly unsealed information, aided two of Khan’s brothers, identified only by the initials JK and IK. Both men moved to Syria to join ISIS fighters. IK was killed in fighting last year, prosecutors said.

The conspiracy dates to 2015 and also involves Khan’s mother, identified as YPK, who lived in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia during the conspiracy, and Khan’s twin sister, NK, who lived in Bangladesh, prosecutors said.

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IK, the brother who was killed last year, had come to the United States in 2013 on a student visa to attend school and later lived with Gaffar and Khan from around June 2014 until about February 2015, prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said in a statement: “The defendants encouraged and supported Nabila Kahn’s brothers joining the murderous terrorist group ISIS, which is a direct threat to the safety and security of the United States.”

Michael J. Driscoll, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said in a statement: “As this case shows, extremists need not take up arms themselves to threaten lives and do real harm. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force will never stop working to identify those aiding terrorist groups that consider our country their sworn enemy.”

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(c) 2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.