Posts Tagged ‘Hafiz Khan’

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Hafiz Khan convicted for funding the Taliban

March 7, 2013

Two imams in the U.S. have been convicted of terrorist financing within the span of two weeks.  First there was Imam Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud in San Diego who conspired with fellow Somali immigrants in America to fund al-Shabaab in East Africa, and now Hafiz Khan, the Florida-based imam who transferred money to the Pakistani Taliban.

Given the extensive wiretap and documentary bank evidence against Imam Khan, the case never looked good for him.  When his defense attorneys blundered by putting Khan on the witness stand to deliver listless tirades and tortured explanations of why he said what he said, it looked even worse.

First his lawyers said that Khan was mentally incompetent, but the court didn’t buy that.  Then their story was that Khan provided charitable relief and made investments in a potato chip company in Pakistan.  Then the story changed again to Khan purporting that he had lied to the Taliban in his wiretapped conversations, and that he only offered them money to get more money in return.  The plan was supposedly to give the Taliban $50,000 now to get $1 million back from them later, which would represent an unbelievable 1,900% return on his “investment.”

Did it occur to Mr. Khan or his defense team that there is no legal distinction between giving money to a terrorist organization to wage jihad versus giving money to a terrorist organization as an investment?  In any case, the defense was not plausible, and Khan could not explain his taped statements wishing death upon U.S. troops.  Allowing him to testify in his own defense was a disaster.

Real people have been killed or injured and property has been destroyed in Pakistan because of the TTP, and the TTP was enriched because this man collected money fellow Islamists in Florida.  Khan, an old man, faces a maximum 60 year sentence.  He will surely die in prison.  At least he’ll have the opportunity to say good-bye to his family—an opportunity the TTP’s victims never had.

From the Miami Herald on Mar. 4:

Florida imam convicted in Pakistani Taliban case

By CURT ANDERSON

AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI — An elderly Muslim cleric has been convicted by a Miami federal court jury of providing thousands of dollars in financial support to the Pakistani Taliban.

The 12-person jury returned its verdict Monday after the two-month trial of Hafiz Khan. The 77-year-old imam at a Miami mosque was found guilty of two conspiracy counts and two counts of providing material support to terrorists.

Each charge carries a potential 15-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors built their case largely around hundreds of FBI recordings of conversations in which Khan expressed support for Taliban attacks and discussed sending about $50,000 to Pakistan.

Khan testified the money was for family, charity and business reasons. Khan also said he lied to an FBI informant about Taliban support in hopes of obtaining $1 million from him.

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Terror financing imam claims to be potato chip investor

February 20, 2013

We’ve heard many far-fetched defenses in terrorist financing cases—mostly false claims of charity for the poor—but this one takes the cake.  Or, more precisely, the potato chip.

How will South Florida imam Hafiz Khan’s defense lawyers explain Khan’s tape recorded statement that “Right now I have about 100,000 Pakistani rupees for the Taliban.  People have given me (money) in small amounts, I have given some from my side.”  Is “Taliban” the unfortunate name of the potato chip company, perhaps?

Witness testifies from Pakistan that Florida imam’s money was not for Taliban terrorists

MIAMI – Testifying via video from Pakistan, a man accused by the U.S. of conspiring with an elderly Miami-based Muslim cleric to funnel thousands of dollars to Taliban terrorists insisted Monday the money was for innocent purposes, including a potato chip factory run by the cleric’s son-in-law.

Ali Rehman was the first of as many as 11 witnesses expected to testify from an Islamabad hotel in defense of 77-year-old Hafiz Khan, who faces four terrorism support and conspiracy counts. Rehman is named in the same indictment and refused to come to the U.S. Other witnesses were unable to get U.S. visas in time.

Rehman said he handled three separate $10,000 transactions for Khan in 2008 and 2009. Most of the money, he testified, went to Anayat Ullah, who is married to Khan’s daughter Husna and started the potato chip business with his father-in-law as an investor. Rehman said he has known Ullah since they were children in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and wanted to do him a favor.

“That favor was that his father was sending him some money, and I used to deliver it to him or sent it to him,” said Rehman.

He spoke in Pashto that was translated into English for the 12-person jury watching him on flat-screen televisions.

Rehman kept a three-page ledger detailing most of the transactions, which jurors were shown. “I was just the middle man to give the money to him.”

Ullah also used his father’s money to buy a vehicle for the factory and to buy a house, Rehman said.

Rehman said he and Khan disagreed with the Taliban’s tactics of using violence and force to impose their version of Muslim law. Rehman said he was personally threatened by Taliban fighters who ordered him to remove products containing women’s pictures from a cosmetics store he owns.

“They came to my store one day and said, `You should remove these pictures.’ They also slapped me,” he said. “They said, `If you continue to sell this, it will not be good for you.'”

Rehman said he kept putting the Taliban off and eventually they stopped coming around.

Jurors were also played tape of an intercepted phone call between Rehman and Khan in which they are discussing financing of a road widening project. Khan suggested at one point that Rehman sell some trees he had cut down to help cover the cost…

A road widening project?  Wouldn’t that be the responsibility of government officials?  Sounds like code.

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Florida imam raised $50K to fund Taliban

January 17, 2013
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/02/florida-terror-case-hafiz-khan-competency-miami_n_1732011.html

Izhar Khan (left) and Hafiz Khan (right)

Prosecutors have the bank records and wiretaps to prove it.  Recorded statements of imam Hafiz Khan, the leading figure in the conspiracy to finance the Pakistani Taliban (a.k.a. Tehrik-e-Taliban) include:

  • Asking his son Izhar to pick up $300 from a donor that had been “approved for the mujahideen.”
  • Describing his nephew in Pakistan as “a big agent of the Taliban.”
  • Stating:  “Right now I have about 100,000 Pakistani rupees for the Taliban.  People have given me (money) in small amounts, I have given some from my side.”
  • After hearing that seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, Hafiz Khan “declared his wish that God bring to death 50,000 more.”

No wonder why defense attorneys tried so hard to argue that Hafiz Khan is mentally incompetent.  They must have known that in addition to the bank records, the statements Khan has made are so damning that the jury will easily find him guilty on four counts of providing material support to terrorists.

Hafiz faces a maximum 60-year prison sentence for these activities.  Meanwhile, Amina Farah Ali, a Muslim woman in Minnesota who was convicted in 2011 for raising and transferring a comparatively lesser amount of $8,600 to terrorists overseas, faces up to 195 years in prison.  In the Ali case, separate transfers of money were treated as separate charges, whereas most of the transfers in this case have been lumped together.

The reason for combining the transfers together is unclear.  The prosecutors must feel that it is the best legal strategy, but Money Jihad counts seven separate transfers in the Khan indictment that could have been broken into separate counts that would have added 105 years to the possible prison sentence.

Hafiz Khan is charged under 18 USC 2339A and 2339B, which outlaw providing “material support” to terrorists.  Often described as a key provision of the Patriot Act, the material support prohibitions of sections 2339A and B actually originate from the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  The Patriot Act clarified the definition of “material support” and increased the penalties for violations.