US court sentences Ghulam Nabi Fai to 2 yrs in jail
Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai was on Friday sentenced to two years in jail by a US court on charges of illegally working for Pakistani spy agency ISI to influence American policy on Kashmir.world Updated: Mar 31, 2012 01:48 IST
Kashmiri separatist Ghulam Nabi Fai was on Friday sentenced to two years in jail by a US court on charges of illegally working for Pakistani spy agency ISI to influence American policy on Kashmir.
62-year-old Fai was sentenced to 24 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release by a court in Alexandria, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC.
Judge Liam O'Grady also asked Fai not to maintain any contact with the officials and agents of the Government of Pakistan and the ISI.
Fai was arrested by the FBI on July 19 last year and had subsequently pleaded guilty before the court to the charges of being a paid agent of the ISI.
Fai, who was represented by Nina Ginsberg in the court, said he would self surrender after graduation of his daughter on June 25.
The Judge told Fai that he can continue to work for the cause of Kashmiri people from the prison -- like write articles and do conference calls.
About 40 people were inside the court room -- mostly his friends and family members. The government attorney was Gordon D Kromberg.
After listening from both sides and also for a few minutes from Fai himself, the judge said: "sentencing is necessary" even though he has done moving things on behalf of people of Kashmir.
"I do not think you are ready to believe that by your acts you did a great harm to he US, you ignored that even after FBI brought this to your notice," Judge told Fai.
"You participated in a conspiracy to defraud the US and completely deceive the IRS. You knew Pakistan and the ISI was paying you in a manner because your actions would be consistent with theirs and you would represent their voice and you were willing to do so," the judge said.
"You were willing to defraud the IRS, willing to be allowed being given money by the Straw Donors to fund the Kashmir American Council -- to cover up the source of your funding and to engage with the Pakistani intelligence agency."
"The money that you received also allowed you to lead a comfortable life in the US, raise your kids and help the cause of Kashmir.
"It's troubling" that despite being approached by the US Government in March 2007 and 2010 you did not admit the role that Pakistan government and the ISI was playing in the KAC," Judge told Fai.
Fai said that he did not tow the Pakistani line and he always espoused the cause of independent Kashmir -- while Pakistan wants to make Kashmir part of it.
"Words possibly can't define the damage that I have done to my beautiful family and friends in the US and the damage that I have done to the Kashmir cause," Fai told the court.
"I never intended to harm anybody in the world, never intended to harm the US. My sole motivation was to work for the people of Kashmir and their right of self determination," he added.
Fai then went into propaganda mode and said: "I know the road to freedom is long but there is no short cut."
Fai said he has written 25 articles proposing that the best solution to the Kashmir problem was independence of Kashmir.
Judge commented: "I do not doubt your love for people of Kashmir" and then he went on to pronounce the judgement.
Earlier, the US Justice Department had recommended that Fai be sentenced for 48 months of imprisonment.
He faced a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a maximum three years in prison for the tax violation.
Earlier when Fai's attorney Ginsberg was arguing that Fai was never dictated by ISI as being alleged by US attorney Kromberg, judge said Fai knew the position he was taking and that his position was consistent with that of Pakistan and the ISI.
"He clearly knew, he is being paid because the Pakistan government wanted him to see do what he was doing," Judge said, adding "Pakistan has lost wars with India on Kashmir and so Pakistan is looking for other means to achieve its objectives."
First Published: Mar 30, 2012 22:26 IST