Yemeni cleric gets 75 years in jail for bragging

A judge on Thursday sentenced a Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad who bragged about his ties to Osama bin Laden to 75 years in jail.

Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan al-Moayad was convicted on charges of conspiring to support al-Qaeda and Hamas, supporting the Palestinian group and attempting to support al-Qaeda. He was secretly recorded promising to funnel more than $2 million (Ђ1.65 million) to Hamas in a meeting with two FBI informants in a German hotel room. Al-Moayad, 57, was arrested by German police in January 2003 and extradited to the United States.

As he was being led away to begin his sentence, al-Moayad said: "Your honor, what have I done?"

U.S. District Judge Sterling Johnson on Thursday called the taped conversations "chilling." While the trial was not about the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, the evidence of al-Moayad's ties to bin Laden and Hamas required a stiff sentence.

"We all remember September the 11th," Johnson said.

One of the informants, Mohamed Alanssi, set himself on fire outside the White House in November 2004 in what he later described as an attempt to get more money from the FBI, which paid him at least $100,000 (Ђ82,644) for his work.

Alanssi nonetheless testified at al-Moayad's trial that the sheik had boasted of giving bin Laden $20 million (Ђ16.5 million) in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the AP reports.

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