Muna Osman Jama, 36, was arrested in Reston in 2014. She was one of several people charged with providing material support to al-Shabaab, “a designated foreign terrorist organization that is conducting an insurgency campaign in Somalia,” U.S. Department of Justice officials said.
Authorities said Osman Jama and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 44, of Kent, Wash., funneled small amounts of money to the group, which became affiliated with Al-Qaeda in 2012.
The trial is expected to take two weeks.
According to the Justice Department, Jama and Dhirane allegedly directed a network composed primarily of women who provided monthly payments that were coordinated, facilitated and tracked by the defendants to their conduits in Kenya and Somalia.
Authorities said Jama was principally responsible for sending money to Kenya through a conduit, defendant Fardowsa Jama Mohamed, while Dhirane was primarily responsible for sending money to Somalia through her conduit, defendant Barira Hassan Abdullahi.
According to court records, the defendants would refer to the money they sent overseas as “living expenses,” and they repeatedly used code words such as “orphans” and “brothers in the mountains” to refer to al-Shabaab fighters, and “camels” to refer to trucks needed by al-Shabaab. The money transfers often were broken down into small amounts as low as $50 or $100, and the funds were intended for use by al-Shabaab insurgents operating in Somalia.
The defendants also face charges of one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and 20 counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on each count in the indictment.