LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Helping a terrorist group in the western Asian country of Yemen ended with prison for a man from east Arkansas.
The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas announced Tuesday that Bilal Al-Rayanni, a 31-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Helena-West Helena, was sentenced to federal prison for providing material support to a terrorist organization.
Al-Rayanni was sentenced to 65 months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release.
In July 2014, Al-Rayanni left the U.S. to visit family in Yemen, where he stayed through Jan. 2015. He later admitted to federal agents that while in-country, he had driven a vehicle in an armed convoy for a terrorist group recruiting mission. The group, Ansar al-Sharira, is the name for Al Qa’ida in the southern Arabian Peninsula.
Other than his admission, other evidence of Al-Rayanni participating with Ansar al-Sharira are pictures of him posing with an ISIS flag, and a second of him posing in front of a convoy while weapons and ammunition were nearby.