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Lebanon News

Ohio woman jailed for supporting Hezbollah

WASHINGTON: An Ohio woman was sentenced to 40 months in prison Wednesday for her role in a conspiracy to ship hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

Amera Akl, 38, of Toledo, Ohio, pleaded guilty last month to one count of conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

"Money is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations, and stopping the flow is a key component to choking off these organizations," U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Steven Dettelbach, said in a statement.

According to court documents, Amera Akl and her husband, Hor Akl, met with a confidential source who was working for the FBI between August 2009 and June 2010 "to discuss ways to secretly send money to Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon."

While Amera Akl was present, Hor Akl told the confidential source that he knew the money was being transported to "terrorists," and the Akls agreed to send money by "concealing it inside a 2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer, which they planned to send to Lebanon via a container ship," court documents stated.

Amera Akl told the source during one meeting that she "dreamed of dressing like Hezbollah, carrying a gun and dying as a martyr."    

On June 3, 2010, the Akls were given $200,000 by the source.

After Amera Akl serves her 40-month sentence, she will undergo three years of supervised release.

Hor Akl, 38, pleaded guilty last month to a total of five counts, including conspiracy to provide material support and resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to violate money laundering statutes.

He will be sentenced later this year, said the Justice Department said.

 

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