MLFA-funded CLCMA attorneys worked with the local federally appointed defense counsel to achieve a relatively good outcome. A plea agreement was reached. Ms. Yusuf pled guilty to material support of a terrorist organization. Judge Barry Moskowitz was able to understand that there are nuances for this kind of charge. Prior to this case, Federal Courts around the country were hard and fast in always applying the “terrorism enhancement” to all material support of terrorism cases. Rather than sentencing Nima Yusuf to the standard 20 years, the judge found that this was unreasonable for the kind of support she had been offering. She received a 96-month sentence. This was the lowest sentence for material support conviction where the defendant had not cooperated with the government. This marked a turning point in federal terrorism sentences. After her case, sentences well below the recommendation of 30 years to life became much more frequent.
This case is an example of how our commitment to justice can change the way the law is applied. If laws are unjust, it’s our responsibility to change them. We are committed to the abolishment of the terrorism enhancement, which has been applied in unreasonable ways. This is the kind of impact we can have.
I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say, “Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart — and that is the weakest of faith.” (Muslim)