A federal jury in Florida Monday convicted a Pakistani-born imam of conspiring to fund terrorists in his native country.
Hafiz Kahn, 77, was secretly recorded by an FBI informant saying he hoped U.S. soldiers would die in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the Taliban would destroy Pakistan's government. Prosecutors said Kahn sent $50,000 to the informant to aid the cause.
Kahn, who testified in his own defense, said he thought the money was going to benefit his extended family and other poor people in the Swat Valley, where terrorists have taken refuge. He said the reason he made the anti-American statements in the recorded conversations was to curry favor with the informant, who promised to donate money to the poor, as well, The Miami Herald said.
Ultimately, jurors in federal court in Miami didn't buy the explanation and convicted Kahn on four counts of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and to a foreign terrorist organization, as well as providing actual support in both conspiracies.
Each charge carries up to a 15-year prison term, effectively a life sentence for the aging cleric.
Kahn is a naturalized citizen who moved to the United States in 1994.
Prosecutors dropped similar charges against one of Kahn's sons, and a judge tossed out an indictment against another one.
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