Second of ‘Lackawanna Six’ Defendants Gets Sentenced

Times Staff Writer

A second “Lackawanna Six” defendant was sentenced Thursday for participating in terrorism training at a camp operated in Afghanistan by Al Qaeda.

Yasein Taher, 25, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison. He had pleaded guilty in May to providing material support or resources to the terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden.

In the courtroom, Taher apologized for his actions and told the judge he knew he had let a lot of people down. Prosecutors said he had provided substantial cooperation in their investigation.


Court papers said that Taher, who was born in the United States, knew before leaving Lackawanna, N.Y., for the camp that Bin Laden provided funding for it. While at the camp in May 2001, he received instruction in weapons, explosives and tactics. Like others being trained, he also performed guard duty.

Prosecutors said Taher left the Al Farooq camp shortly after a speech by Bin Laden that mentioned missions against United States and Israeli interests. He did not complete all of the training available.

Before the sentencing in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, N.Y., Judge William M. Skretny received letters urging leniency for Taher. The letters described him as a peace-loving and devoted family man who married his high school sweetheart and worked in a collection agency.

Skretny did not deviate from the sentence recommended by prosecutors in Taher’s plea agreement; Taher could have faced a 10-year term and a fine of $250,000.

On Wednesday, the judge sentenced Mukhtar al-Bakri, a 23-year-old Yemeni American from Lackawanna who also attended the camp, to 10 years in prison. Al-Bakri had completed all training at the camp.

In court papers, prosecutors said that Taher, like Al-Bakri, gave investigators “highly valuable” information during a series of extensive interviews.


The intelligence included identifying and describing a number of Al Qaeda leaders, trainers and recruits.

Later this month, four other men from Lackawanna, who also pleaded guilty to receiving the training and who agreed to cooperate, are scheduled to be sentenced.

The government has recommended prison terms between seven and 10 years for Sahim Alwan, 30; Faysal Galab, 27; Yahya Goba, 26; and Shafal Mosed, 25.