Qaeda link: Pak-born US citizen pleads guilty


The Pakistani-born Hashmi entered his guilty plea whereby he would face only a lighter sentence of 15 years instead of a life term and also averted a trial that was scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

Hashmi pleaded guilty to helping an al-Qaeda operative four years ago while studying in London. Hashmi, a college student from Brooklyn, was extradited from Britain to the United States in 2007.

“He made the best deal that was available under the circumstances,” David A Ruhnke, his lawyers, said. “The government wanted to lock him up for the rest of his life. They will not succeed in that goal.”

The Pakistani immigrant told the court that he housed an al-Qaeda operative, Junaid Babar, between 2004 and 2006 and provided him ponchos, socks and sleeping bags for use by the terrorist outfit in Afghanistan.

The 30-year-old also admitted to giving the same operative $300 to buy a plane ticket to take the gear to Pakistan for al-Qaeda to use.
For the last three years, Hashmi was being held in solitary confinement in a Manhattan prison.The Pakistani immigrant was arrested at the Heathrow Airport in 2006 as he was to board a plane to Pakistan. He was extradited to US in 2007 under new laws post 9/11 and would be sentenced on June 7.

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