Indian citizen sentenced to 27.5 years jail term for supporting terrorism in US

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Yahya Farooq Mohammad plead guilty of charges in July (Photo: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office)
Yahya Farooq Mohammad plead guilty of charges in July (Photo: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office)

New Delhi : A US court on Monday charged an Indian citizen to 27 1/2 years in federal prison for supporting terrorist outfit al-Qaida and plotting to kill a federal judge. 

The 39-year-old, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, pleaded guilty in July to charges of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support or resources to terrorists and solicitation to commit a crime of violence.

After his arrest on terrorism charges, Mohammad tried to orchestrate the killing of the judge presiding over his case, US District Judge Jack Zouhary, from his prison cell, prosecutors said.

According to his plea agreement, Mohammed will be deported after he finishes his sentence. 

The convict was arrested in 2015 along with his brother, Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, and brothers Asif Ahmed Salim and Sultane Room Salim. The other three men have pleaded not guilty in the case.

The four men are accused of conspiring to gather money and equipment to provide support to Anwar al-Awlaki, the late American-born, radical Muslim cleric whose English language videos and blog posts inspired a number of Western recruits to al-Qaida, as well as acts of terrorism, federal prosecutors said.

"For those who wish to harm the United States and support terrorists, whether in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, or right here in Toledo, these decades of prison serve as an important reminder that America's law enforcement will pursue justice across the globe," US Attorney Justin Herdman said in a news release. "He threatened the safety of our citizens, a judge and the independent judiciary. Now he is being held accountable."

Mohammad's attorneys argued in their sentencing memo that the inmate he spoke to in jail was "extremely manipulative and totally unreliable." However, the attorneys admitted the risk of Mohammad being convicted at trial was too great, so they reached a plea agreement.