WASHINGTON , Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Christopher Paul , a/k/a Abdul Malek , a/k/a Paul Kenyatta Laws , a 44-year-old U.S. citizen born in Columbus, Ohio , was sentenced to 20 years in prison today for conspiring with others to use a weapon of mass destruction, namely explosive devices, against targets in Europe and the United States .
The sentence, which was handed down by U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost in the Southern District of Ohio , was announced by Matthew G. Olsen , Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security; Gregory G. Lockhart , U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio ; Executive Assistant Director Arthur M. Cummings, II , of the FBI's National Security Branch; and Keith L. Bennett , Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Cincinnati Division.
On June 3, 2008 , Paul pleaded guilty to count two of a three-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to provide material support and resources to terrorists; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and providing material support and resources to terrorists. At his guilty plea, Paul agreed to a sentence of 20 years in prison. The government agreed to dismiss counts one and three of the indictment.
"Today's sentence brings an end to the long, militant career of Christopher Paul , an Ohio native who joined al Qaeda in the early 1990s, fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia , and conspired with others to target Americans both at home and abroad," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen . "His lengthy prison term demonstrates our continuing resolve to protect the American public against terrorism."
"The Paul case represents the culmination of extraordinary efforts by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force as a whole and, in particular, the JTTF Paul case agents: FBI Special Agent Latisha Hartsough , Westerville Police Detective Mike Shaheen , and Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Jerry Goetz . Without the JTTF's efforts and those of our international law enforcement counterparts, this case would not have been possible," said U.S. Attorney Gregory G. Lockhart .
"Thanks to the work of the agents and officers at our Columbus Joint Terrorism Task Force, American-born Christopher Paul's actions in support of al Qaeda were disrupted and exposed. Through our partnerships around the country, we will continue to investigate and bring to justice those like him who threaten the safety and welfare of American citizens," said Executive Assistant Director Arthur M. Cummings, II , of the FBI's National Security Branch.
According to a statement of facts read by the case agent during the change of plea hearing for Paul in June 2008 and acknowledged to be true by the defendant:
In the early 1990s, Paul traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen. At an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan , he received initial training in, among other things, the use of assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and small unit tactics. After successfully completing this training, he joined al Qaeda and stayed at the Beit ur Salam guesthouse, which was exclusively for al Qaeda members. Having distinguished himself to al Qaeda, Paul was then selected for and obtained advanced training in explosives, climbing, and military history. Paul then fought in Afghanistan alongside other mujahedeen.
After fighting in Afghanistan , Paul returned to Ohio , where he began instructing individuals in martial arts in Columbus . He also began recruiting local individuals with extremist intentions in order to establish a jihadist group in Ohio . Over time and through his association with al Qaeda, Paul became dedicated to committing jihad and furthering the objectives of al Qaeda and other radical Islamic fundamentalists.