US convicts Pak teacher
The 29-year-old teacher, who is accused of aiding Lashkar-e-Taiba, faces up to 45 years in jail, reports S Rajagopalan.india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 12:32 IST
A US federal jury has convicted a Pakistani teacher of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the notorious terrorist outfit that has been spearheading “jihad” in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ali Asad Chandia, the 29-year-old teacher in an Islamic school at College Park in the Greater Washington area, faces up to 45 years in jail and is due to be sentenced on August 18.
Identified as a member of the “Virginia jihad network” that was busted a couple of years ago, Chandia is said to have trained at a Lashkar camp in Pakistan after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The prosecution argued that Chandia, after returning to the US in January 2002, served as a chauffeur to a top Lashkar official, Mohammed Ajmal Khan, and helped him ship military training equipment to Pakistan. That reportedly included a remote-controlled aircraft and 50,000 paintballs.
Hotly contesting this version, Chandia’s attorney Marvin Miller argued that his client had gone to Pakistan in connection with his brother’s wedding and that he did not know about Khan’s terrorist links. Khan was subsequently convicted in Britain of supporting LeT and sentenced to nine years in jail.
According to the prosecutors, Chandia was a disciple of Ali al-Timimi, a US-born Islamic scholar, who is serving a life sentence. Apart from Chandia, three other followers of al-Timimi are said to have visited Pakistan during the months following 9/11.
“This case demonstrates our relentless commitment to bringing to justice those who provide support to terrorist organisations,” US Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said. A group that raised money for Chandia’s defence termed the verdict “a tragedy”.