Lev L. Dassin, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Saleh Elahwal, 55, of Matawan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to providing material support to Hizballah, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. According to the count (Count Two) of the Superseding Indictment to which Elahwal pleaded guilty, and statements made during his guilty plea proceeding before United States District Judge Richard M. Berman:
Hizballah ("Party of God") is a Lebanon-based organization whose stated mission is the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic state and the destruction of the State of Israel. Hizballah regards the United States as its enemy in this struggle and has pursued its mission through, among other things, attacks on civilian targets. Hizballah operates a television station in Lebanon known as Al Manar ("the beacon") to cultivate support, including raising funds and recruiting volunteers for attacks. Hizballah was designated on October 8, 1997, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. On October 31, 2001, Hizballah was further designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and Al Manar itself was so designated on March 23, 2006.
In pleading guilty, Elahwal admitted that between approximately September 2005 and August 2006, he knowingly provided satellite transmission services to Al Manar, for which he was paid thousands of dollars. Elahwal admitted that he knew that Al Manar was operated by Hizballah and that Hizballah had engaged in acts of terrorism as defined by federal law.
Elahwal pleaded guilty to a charge of providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, which carries a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2009, at 10:00 a.m. before Judge BERMAN in Manhattan federal court.
On December 23, 2008, Elahwal’s co-defendant, Javed Iqbal, also pleaded guilty to providing material support to Hizballah. His sentencing is scheduled for March 24, 2009, at 12:45 p.m. before Judge Berman.
Mr. Dassin praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force in conducting the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Eric Snyder and David S. Leibowitz are in charge of the prosecution.
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