In a chilling twist of justice, a father, accompanied by members of his family, was found guilty on charges pertaining to terrorism and kidnapping, a malicious act which resulted in the death of his 3-year-old son, discovered dead at a New Mexico compound, according to prosecutors.
It was Tuesday when a federal jury fulfilled their grievous duty and delivered a verdict of guilty for four family members, stemming from their arrest in 2018 after a shocking raid at an isolated compound in rural New Mexico, as reported by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico last Friday.
In search of 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, law enforcement descended upon the scene of grotesque violation of human life. The child, snatched from his mother in Georgia by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was found in a decomposed state within the compound’s boundaries.
The raid unearthed further atrocities. Eleven children in a state of alarming emaciation, clothed in rags, shoeless and visibly neglected were discovered. The group had evidently survived off the grid in the trash-laden lot for several months.
The court held Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his brother-in-law, Lucas Morton, culpable for several charges, including conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, providing material support to terrorists and the conspiracy to murder an officer or employee of the United States, as indicated by jury verdict sheets. Morton faced additional charges, being found guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death.
Sisters of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, Hujrah Wahhaj and Subhanah Wahhaj, were likewise deemed guilty of conspiracy to commit kidnapping resulting in death and kidnapping resulting in death. However, they were acquitted on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists.
Jany Leveille, a fifth actor in this harrowing case, consented to plead guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and illegal possession of firearms in the US, as per her plea agreement.
The prosecution claimed that the culpable parties absconded with 3-year-old Abdul Ghani, fueled by a misguided belief formed by Leveille and her fellow defendants that the child, whom Leveille considered her son, was demonically possessed.
In New Mexico, the group withheld the child’s crucial anti-seizure medication and subjected him to a relentless schedule of daily “spiritual exorcisms,” ultimately leading to his tragic demise after less than a fortnight in the state.
The child’s lifeless body was discovered in an underground tunnel during a search of the compound. The exact cause of death remains undisclosed by prosecutors.
According to prosecutors, the defendants established an enclave predicated on the belief that Abdul Ghani would reincarnate as Jesus Christ and pass judgement on “corrupt institutions,” law enforcement included. The group’s fortified base was equipped with an exhaustive armory and served as a training ground for tactical maneuvers. Painted as extremists, they allegedly spoke of jihad and martyrdom, genuinely believing they were under FBI surveillance and prepared to eliminate anyone opposed to their credence.
Leveille’s attorneys confirmed her difficult decision to accept the plea agreement, thus concluding her legal journey. She now awaits sentencing, hoping for a reunion with her family. Meanwhile, Subhanah Wahhaj’s attorney, Ryan J. Villa, expressed relief over her being cleared of terrorism charges but disappoint at her kidnapping conviction, with plans to appeal based on compelling arguments.
“The reprehensible actions and subsequent conviction of these four depraved individuals underline the continued interest of some US-based violent extremists in independent attack plotting, free of any guidance or support from a foreign terrorist organization,” remarked Special Agent in Charge, Raul Bujanda, in a statement.