The man, originally from Eritrea, left his home in Sweden to join the Somali militants in their war against the chaotic country’s government.
He was arrested while in Nigeria in 2009 and, after being sent to the United States, pleaded guilty in June 2012 to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and to receive military training from the US-banned group.
In Manhattan federal court, the 38-year-old was sentenced to 111 months behind bars.
“(He) traveled thousands of miles to align himself with al-Shabaab, to aid their campaign of terror and to learn their ‘ways of war,'” Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said.
“Today, his journey ends in prison and marks the latest victory in our constant effort to protect Americans from terrorism at home and abroad.”
Swedish Radio, meanwhile, reported that the man’s lawyer said the defendant had been pressured to admit to the allegations.
Prosecutors described al-Shabaab(literally “the young” in Arabic) as attempting to “destabilize the government of Somalia and to force the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.”
“The group has recruited foreign fighters to join in its ‘holy war’ in Somalia, resulting in men from other countries, including the United States, traveling there to engage in violent jihad,” they added.
“Al-Shabaab has also made numerous public statements demonstrating its intent to harm the United States.”