US cleric sentenced for supporting Taliban

MIAMI, Aug 23: An elderly Muslim cleric in South Florida has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban. usFederal prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence and Khan faced a maximum of 60 years. Trial evidence showed Khan arranged to send about $50,000 over a three-year period to Pakistan. Prosecutors argued the money helped finance violent attacks against both US and Pakistani targets. Khan told the judge Friday the money was for family, friends and a religious school he founded. Before his 2011 arrest, the imam at a Miami mosque, Khan also founded a religious school, or a madrassah, in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The madrassah was closed for a time by Pakistan’s government as a suspected hideout for Taliban fighters, though it later reopened. Shipley also noted trial testimony indicated it was used to identify young fighters who would later join Taliban extremists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Two of Khan’s sons, Izhar and Irfan, were initially charged along with their father but the charges against them were dismissed. Three others in the indictment, including Khan’s daughter, remain free in Pakistan, which will not allow them to be extradited to the US.]]>

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