MIAMI - A 77-year-old man was sentenced on Friday to 25 years in prison for allegedly providing material support to terrorists, including the Pakistani Taliban.
According to public records, defendant Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 77, was the Imam at the Miami Masjid in Miami.
Authorities said the indictment did not allege that the masjid participated in the Khan's scheme.
Khan was convicted by a jury on March 4 after two months of trial, on charges of conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically the Pakistani Taliban.
"The sentence today demonstrates that no matter who you are or what your motive may be, financing terrorism will not be tolerated by our criminal justice system, and will be punished severely," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "Today's sentence sends a powerful message to anyone who thinks they have a reason to support terrorism: You cannot use the freedoms of this country to support terrorism. It will not be tolerated. You will be brought to justice."
U.S. attorneys said the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik?e Taliban Pakistan, Tehrik?I?Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban, and Tehreek?e?Taliban, is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization formed in or around Dec. 2007 by an alliance of radical Islamist militants.
On Sept. 1, 2010, attorneys said the United States Department of State formally designated the Pakistani Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
"Terrorists in Pakistan have lost a reliable source of funding and the man responsible for that funding, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, is now paying the price for his actions," said Xanthie Mangum, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Miami. "Terrorism remains the FBI's top priority."
According to the evidence at trial, Khan, with the help of persons in South Florida and Pakistan, sent money and other material support to Pakistani Taliban contacts and sympathizers overseas.
Attorneys said according to the evidence, Khan sought to aid the Pakistani Taliban's fight against the Pakistani government and its perceived allies, including the U.S., by supporting acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere, in order to displace the lawful government of Pakistan and to establish Sharia.
Khan transferred money from the U.S. to Pakistani Taliban supporters in Pakistan, primarily using bank accounts and wire transfer services in the United States and Pakistan, attorneys said.
Attorneys said Khan also solicited and collected money in the U.S., taking great care to conceal his activities.
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