Monday, March 04, 2013

Florida Imam Convicted On 4 Counts Of Aiding Terrorists

77-year-old Hafiz Khan, the imam of a Miami mosque, could spend the rest of what little life he has left in jail after being convicted of monetarily supporting the Pakistani Taliban.

After a two month trial, the jury found Khan guilty of :

two conspiracy counts and two counts of providing material support to terrorists.
Khan will find out his fate on May 30th when Judge Robert Scola decides whether he will get the maximum sentence of 15 years for each count.

U.S. prosecutor Wilfredo Ferrer said of Khan:

"Despite being an imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace." "Instead, he acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming."
According to the prosecutors, Khan shared the following with FBI undercover agents who recorded hundreds of conversations with the old man, including: for Taliban attacks and discussed sending about $50,000 to Pakistan. There were also recordings in which Khan appeared to back the overthrow of Pakistan's government in favor of strict Islamic law, praised the killing of American military personnel and lauded the failed 2010 attempt to detonate a bomb in New York's Times Square.
Khan denies everything, and his son Irfan claims his dad has dementia, and was therefore unable to defend himself properly.
Khan, who testified over four combative days in his own defense, insisted the money he sent overseas was for family, charity and business reasons - above all, his religious school, known as a madrassa, in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Khan also said he repeatedly lied about harboring extremist views to obtain $1 million from a man who turned out to be an FBI informant wearing a wire to record their talk.
"That is not supporting terrorism," said Khan attorney Khurrum Wahid in a closing argument. "That is an old guy running a scam, who got scammed."
Prosecutors, however, said the purported $1 million offer was never heard on any tapes and no other witnesses testified about its existence. The informant, identified in court papers as Mahmood Siddiqui, did not testify.
Khan and Wahid intend on appealing the verdict.

The back story, in case you are not familiar with the case:
The case began with six defendants indicted in May 2011 but ended with only Khan on trial. Two of Khan's sons, Izhar and Irfan, were cleared of all charges and three more defendants have remained free in Pakistan, which does not extradite its citizens to face U.S. criminal charges.
One of those in Pakistan, Ali Rehman, testified via video link that he was not a Taliban fighter as U.S. prosecutors claim. Rehman said he owned a women's cosmetics store that the Taliban disliked because products showed photos of women. He said he handled more than $30,000 in financial transactions for Khan, mainly to invest in a potato chip factory run by Khan's son-in-law.
After Rehman's testimony, Pakistani authorities shut down the video link from an Islamabad hotel, leaving Khan without the testimony of 10 witnesses on his behalf.

Read more here:

If he was indeed aiding and abetting terrorists he deserves what he will get. If he was scamming, as his attorney attests, let that be a lesson, as well. Either way, he deserves to be punished, and hopefully this will deter others in this country from doing the same.

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