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5 Americans in Pakistan Sentenced to 10 Years in Jail

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By Jenni Hesterman
Originally posted at Counter Terror Forum
The five American citizens from the Washington, D.C. area who traveled to Pakistan to join radical Islamists in their quest for jihad were convicted Thursday on charges of plotting terrorist attacks on Pakistan soil. They were sentenced to 10 years in prison. The men, aged 19-25, left behind a farewell video for their families in December when they departed the U.S.

They turned up in Punjab at the home of an activist with Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM or “the army of Mohammed”) a group linked to al Qaeda that seeks the transfer of Kashmir from India to Pakistan. The organization is banned by the Pakistani government, and is on our Foreign Terrorist Organization list. The men also met with members of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which was responsible for the Mumbai attacks. Money changed hands at these meetings, adding material support of terrorist groups to the charge list.
Here are a few key takeaways:
1) Six American men were initially detained. The men are Ramy Zamzam, Waqar Hussain Khan, Aman Yamar, Ahmad Abdul Minni, and Umer Farooq and his father, Khalid Farooq. Khalid Farooq owns a computer business in Virginia and traveled regularly between the U.S. and Pakistan. There are also reports that Mrs. Farooq was at the house, as well, but not detained. The father, Khalid Farooq, was not convicted.
2) A source close to the investigation has told Newsweek that at least one of the men, Ramy Zamzam, a 22 year old medical student at Howard University, may have worshiped at the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque. See my previous blog for the details on this Falls Church, VA mosque which hosted Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and 3 of the 9/11 hijackers. Zamzam was the leader of the group.
2) The men told investigators they planned to cross the Pakistan border and join the fight in Afghanistan against coalition forces. They later changed their story to that of a humanitarian mission, to aid the orphaned and the homeless.
The men used Facebook and You Tube to reach out to radical Islamist groups prior to arriving in Pakistan.
4) Maps were found on the their computers showing detailed knowledge of the location of radical terrorist cells in the area.
5) The video they left behind for family member contains statements from the men about their intentions to fight, and pictures of American casualties.
6) One of the men, Khan, has a criminal record for embezzlement.
7) Pakistani authorities alleged that the group had clear targets in mind in Pakistan, including an air force base in the western city of Mianwali and a nuclear power plant in Chashma, also in western Punjab province.
Lawyers are filing appeals based on the lack of date time stamps on e-mail correspondence used in the case by the prosecution, and alleged torture used to extract confessions.
The U.S. never asked for extradition, sending a strong signal to other Americans who might contemplate traveling overseas to carry out terrorist acts: they will be subjected to the host country’s brand of justice.
Boston,com article
Dallas News Article
AP article

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