ATLANTA — The two men sentenced to prison earlier this month for aiding terror groups by sending video of U.S. landmarks abroad have filed a notice to appeal.
Attorneys for 25-year-old Syed Haris Ahmed, formerly of Dawsonville, and 23-year-old Ehsanul Islam Sadequee of Roswell filed separate motions in the week after they were each sentenced to prison on terror charges.
The motions are not formal appeals, but they are the first steps toward doing so.
Sadequee was sentenced to 17 years in prison for four terror-related charges at a hearing last week. Ahmed received a 13-year sentence on a single charge.
Prosecutors say Sadequee and Ahmed, who are both U.S. citizens, never posed an imminent threat to the U.S. but took steps to help terrorists when they sent the videos to suspected terrorists overseas.
The two men were sentenced Dec. 14 by U.S. District Court Judge William S. Duffey Jr. after prosecutors successfully argued their videos of several Washington, D.C., landmarks, though amateurish, showed Ahmed’s willingness to provide aid to known terrorists.
Prison sentences for both men are to be followed by 30 years of supervised release.
Ahmed is a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan in 1984. He came to the United States in the mid-1990s and moved to Dawsonville in 2003 after his father got a job teaching computer science at North Georgia College & State University.
Ahmed attended high school in Dawsonville, then college at North Georgia College and Georgia Tech. He was living in Atlanta at the time of his 2006 arrest.
In 2005, Ahmed took a bus with Sadequee to Canada, where they met with others who shared their views, according to prosecutors.
According to court testimony, Ahmed and Sadequee later drove to Washington, where they shot videos of locations that included the World Bank Building and Pentagon. A voice can be heard in one of the Pentagon videos saying, “this is where our brothers attacked.”
Ahmed told FBI interviewers the videos were meant to earn the respect and trust of extremists abroad. The videos were later found on the computers of two terror suspects arrested in London, and the camera that shot them was eventually traced back to the Dawsonville home of Ahmed’s parents.
“With their words and their actions, these defendants supported the wrongheaded but very dangerous idea that armed violence aimed at American interests will force our government and our people to change our policies. That is terrorism, and it will not succeed,” said Sally Quillian Yates, then acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
“The risk posed by men such as these defendants continues, both here and abroad. Hopefully, meaningful sentences such as these will make our citizens and our soldiers safer around the world as the message is sent that we will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who would ally themselves with terrorists.”
Sadequee, who was found guilty in August, was born in Fairfax, Va., in 1986. He attended school in the United States, Canada and Bangladesh. In December 2001, while living in Bangladesh, he sought to join the Taliban in their fight against U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, according to Yates and the evidence presented during the trial.