NBC News has obtained an exclusive video of the extradition of Islamic cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal from Jamaica to the U.S. He is accused of using his public profile and personal network to recruit supporters and potential fighters from Islamic State, Manhattan prosecutors said Friday.
Abdullah al-Faisal, also known as Sheikh Faisal or Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan State Court to five counts, including conspiracy and supporting terrorism.
He was extradited on Thursday with the help of the Justice Department. He had previously been imprisoned in Jamaica.
Al-Faisal, 56, had previously been convicted in the UK for crimes relating to incitement to murder and the use of hate speech to promote terrorist ideologies. In 2017, he was named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury.
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Al-Faisal was arrested almost three years ago as part of an investigation by the New York Police Bureau of Intelligence. According to his indictment, Faisal spread ISIS propaganda and explained how an undercover NYPD officer could travel to the Middle East in order to get to Syria and fight with ISIS.
The investigation into Faisal began in 2016, according to New York Police. Impeachment documents show that an undercover police officer flew with members of the NYPD Middle East Intelligence Bureau where al-Faisal allegedly provided contact information for a person based in Raqqa, Syria. This person subsequently began to set up a plan to bring the plainclothes police officer into the territory controlled by ISIS.
Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office told a judge on Friday that evidence obtained through a search warrant included communications with Germaine Lindsey, one of the July 7, 2005 suicide bombers in London; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 2009 “underwear bomber”; Faisal Shazad, who attempted to bomb Times Square in 2010; Khuram Butt, London Bridge forward of 2017; and several other high level terrorists.
“Al-Faisal told the court that he had held Osama bin Laden with ‘great respect’ but had ‘lost his way’ since September 11,” the BBC reported in 2007.
Prosecutors allege that by legally accessing his email and cloud accounts, they discovered communications with many ISIS fighters, including high-ranking members of this terrorist organization.
“The way forward is not the ballot,” al-Faisal said in an online speech in 2016. “The way forward is the ball. ”
New York Police said they sought and obtained Justice Department approval to conduct the overseas investigation and, in August 2017, worked with Jamaican authorities to arrest al-Faisal.
“The indictment and arrest of Sheikh Faisal nearly three years ago has brought an end to the prolific and radical Islamic propaganda and terrorist recruitment alleged in this case – dealing a blow to the overall recruitment capacities of ISIS, ”Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. statement Friday.
“Faisal has spent two decades inspiring terrorists behind plots and attacks in London, New York, and on airplanes,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Al-Faisal will be held in jail pending trial, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.