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Missouri man gets 14 years for al-Qaida support

This undated file photo provided by the Kansas City Police Department shows Khalid Ouazzani. The Missouri businessman who pleaded guilty more than three years ago to providing financial support to al-Qaida has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. Ouazzani was sentenced in a Kansas City federal court Monday. AP photo

This undated file photo provided by the Kansas City Police Department shows Khalid Ouazzani. The Missouri businessman who pleaded guilty more than three years ago to providing financial support to al-Qaida has been sentenced to 14 years in prison. Ouazzani was sentenced in a Kansas City federal court Monday. AP photo

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City businessman who swore an oath of allegiance to al-Qaida and three years ago pleaded guilty to providing financial support to the international terror group was sentenced Monday to 14 years in prison, despite a plea from his attorney for lenience because of the risk he took by becoming an informant against the organization.

Khalid Ouazzani, 35, who pleaded guilty in May 2010 to bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to support a terrorist group, was sentenced in federal court in Kansas City.

Federal prosecutors claimed Ouazzani provided more than $23,000 to al-Qaida and had pledged more, with the hope of eventually traveling to the Middle East to join the fight against the U.S.

In his guilty plea, Ouazzani admitted making false claims to borrow money for a used auto parts business and wiring the proceeds to a bank in Dubai. That money was used to purchase an apartment in Dubai that later sold for a $17,000 profit, which was given to al-Qaida. Ouazzani also admitted sending the terror group $6,500 from the sale of his business.

Ouazzani, a married father of two who became a U.S. citizen in June 2006, admitted in his plea bargain to bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to support a terrorist group after admitting he gave money and swore an oath of allegiance to the terror network in 2008.

At Ouazzani’s sentencing hearing Monday, his attorney, Robin Fowler, asked U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs for a five-year sentence — Ouazzani already has served roughly 42 months — because his cooperation with federal authorities had landed his two co-conspirators in jail.

That makes him a snitch and a Muslim who provided support to al-Qaida, both of which puts his life behind bars in danger, Fowler said.

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