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US court sentences two, including India born on terror charges

world Updated: Jul 13, 2010 10:48 IST
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Two Illinois cousins, one of them an India-born American citizen, have been sentenced by a US court to prison for conspiring to kill US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Zubair Ahmed, 31 was sentenced to 10 years in prison while Khaleel Ahmed, 29 was sentenced to eight years and four months, US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in a statement on Monday.

The Ahmeds had pled guilty in January 2009 before US District Judge James Carr to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.

Carr also sentenced them to three years of supervised release and each was ordered to pay a USD 100 special assessment.

In a sentencing memorandum, assistant US attorney Justin Herdman said the cousins "committed a long-term plan to engage in violent jihad on the battlefield against members of the United States military. The conspiracy spanned three continents, involved a number of other co-conspirators, and consumed at least three years of the defendants' relatively young lives".

Carr said Zubair has been handed a harsher sentence because he was more actively involved in the terror planning.

Khaleel is a naturalised US citizen born in India while his cousin is a US citizen born in Chicago, the Columbus Dispatch said.

According to court documents, the Ahmeds "unlawfully and knowingly" conspired with others between April 2004 and February 2007 to provide material support and resources, knowing they were to be used in a conspiracy to kill and maim individuals outside the United States, including members of the US military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prosecutors said the cousins were recruited by Marwan El-Hindi of Toledo in 2004 to join his cell.

They met at a Muslim convention centre in Cleveland with a former US military man who worked undercover and helped foil the plot.

In May 2004, the cousins, who lived in Chicago, traveled together to Cairo, Egypt, where they hoped "to make contact with the mujahideen, receive training and be placed in either Iraq or Afghanistan to fight US troops," according to court records.

They returned to America where they came in contact with an undercover FBI informant and sought military training.

They had also discussed, sought and received instruction on firearms from another individual in Cleveland, the court records said.