By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A Vietnamese man charged with helping militants in Yemen affiliated with al Qaeda has been extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom, U.S. prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Minh Quang Pham, 32, arrived in the United States on Thursday and made his first appearance before a Manhattan federal magistrate judge on Monday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.
Pham’s arrival came after a U.K. court last month denied his bid to challenge his extradition. He is expected to appear in court Wednesday for an arraignment, at which time he will enter a plea.
A lawyer for Pham did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
He was arrested in 2012 as U.S. prosecutors unveiled an indictment charging him with providing material support to, and receiving military training from, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Prosecutors said Pham in December 2010 traveled from the United Kingdom to Yemen and took an oath of allegiance to the militant group.
The United States considers the Yemen-based group a terrorist organization.
Pham spent a year in Yemen before returning to the United Kingdom in 2011, the indictment said. While in Yemen, Pham received “military-type” training and helped with the group’s online propaganda, prosecutors said.
“During the half year he spent in Yemen, Pham allegedly vowed to wage jihad, swore bayat, and provided material support to high-level AQAP members, almost always brandishing a Kalashnikov rifle,” Bharara said in a statement.
While in Yemen, Pham also worked alongside two U.S. citizens, prosecutors said.
Those Americans included one matching the description of Samir Khan, who served as editor of the organization’s magazine “Inspire.” Khan died in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
If convicted on all five counts in the indictment, Pham faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum term of 40 years.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)