Pakistani sentenced in U.S. for aiding militant group

WASHINGTON Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:31am IST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Pakistani man living in Virginia was sentenced to 12 years in prison by a U.S. judge on Friday for providing support to a militant anti-India group, including making a propaganda video and posting it on YouTube in 2010.

A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, handed down the sentence for Jubair Ahmad, 24, who pleaded guilty in December. Ahmad, who had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, also was given five years of probation.

The group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, has historical ties to Pakistan's top spy agencies and was designated by the United States in 2001 as a foreign terrorist organization.

It has been accused of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people, including six Americans.

Ahmad has admitted he communicated with Talha Saeed, the son of the LeT leader, who asked him to make a video showing his father and to include scenes of attacks in Kashmir. Ahmad made the video in September 2010 and posted it on YouTube.

At one point, Ahmad asked the son if he should include an image of the Mumbai attack to show LeT's power, but was told not to, prosecutors said.

Ahmad entered the United States in 2007 along with family members. In 2009 the FBI opened an investigation after receiving information that he might be associated with LeT, prosecutors have said in court documents.

At sentencing, prosecutors presented evidence that Ahmad had conspired while in the United States to recruit others to attend LeT training camps and to raise funds for the group.

He also expressed an intent to return to Pakistan to complete an LeT commando training course and go on a martyrdom mission, they said.

"We've seen a sharp increase in terrorists' use of social networking services like YouTube to reach a worldwide audience," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said after the sentencing.

"Jubair Ahmad was deeply committed to LeT's violent aims, which he promoted through online propaganda, recruiting others, and fundraising for the terrorist organization responsible for the deadly 2008 attack in Mumbai," he said in a statement.

(Reporting By James Vicini and Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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