A Pakistani-born sanitation worker in the northwestern US has been sentenced to seven years in prison for helping people linked to a suicide attack. The bomber struck Pakistan's intelligence service headquarters in 2009.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 51, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison for providing financial assistance to a terrorist responsible for a deadly Islamist suicide bombing in Pakistan in 2009.
More than 30 people were killed and over 300 injured at the attack on the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters in Lahore at the time. Al-Qaida released a video with the attacker, Ali Jaleel, claiming responsibility for the bombing, in revenge for Pakistan's military operations in the country's northwest.
Khan, who pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the crime in February this year, began conspiring with Jaleel's family in the Maldives in 2005, helping him with money to attend a training camp and prepare for the strike.
He arranged $2,450 for the attack and also provided help to Jaleel's wives after the bombing. During his confession, Khan said he knew Jaleel was going to Pakistan with a plan to commit violence, but was unaware of specific details.
Pakistani-born Khan came to the US in 1988. A naturalized US citizen, he was working as a wastewater treatment plant operator until 2013, when he was arrested.
Prosecutors argued that his role in assisting the terror strike made him a threat. "No community should be subjected to the dangers posed by those seeking to assist violent extremists, whether here or abroad," acting US Attorney Billy Williams said in a statement.
Defense and prosecution lawyers recommended a sentence for Khan jointly, asking Portland judge Michael Mosman to sentence him to seven years' imprisonment.
Mosman said that the sentence presented a challenge because the accused's knowledge of the attacker's plan was murky. However, the outcome was "so horrific…that in some ways everyone who touches the chain of events that led to this terrible crime bears very serious responsibility for it," Mosman said.
mg/sgb (AP, Reuters)