Friday 6 December 2019

Terror defendant 'risk to reoffend'

Ashfaq Ahmad before his son Babar Ahmad's extradition to the US in 2012
Ashfaq Ahmad before his son Babar Ahmad's extradition to the US in 2012

A US prosecutor says authorities are worried that a British citizen facing sentencing for supporting terrorists in Afghanistan will return to the same conduct when he gets out of prison.

Stephen Reynolds told a judge in Connecticut that Babar Ahmad has shown no remorse and has not admitted the full scope of his conduct. He urged the judge to impose a 25-year sentence.

Ahmad pleaded guilty in December to supporting terrorists through websites that sought to raise cash, recruit fighters and solicit items such as gas masks for the Taliban.

Ahmad says he tried to help Muslims under attack in Bosnia and Chechnya and that he deeply regrets his support for the Taliban. He says the 10 years he has already served in prison is enough.

Mr Reynolds said: "We do have significant concerns about Mr Ahmad going back and doing what he did before."

The government is much less concerned about a co-defendant, Syed Talha Ahsan, reoffending, he added.

The two men, who were extradited from Britain in 2012, faced charges in Connecticut because authorities said they used an internet service provider in the state to run one of the websites.

Mr Reynolds continued to press his argument that Ahmad supported al Qaida, citing a document recovered from Ahmad's office that makes reference to leaders of the terrorist organisation. He said the websites engaged in propaganda efforts supporting al Qaida's then leader, Osama bin Laden.

Judge Janet Hall challenged prosecutors last week on that argument, saying their own co-operating witness denied Ahmad supported al Qaida.

Ahmad's lawyers say he was "horrified" by the September 11 attacks and publicly condemned them. They say prosecutors have gone to "desperate lengths" to try to connect Ahmad and the case to al Qaida.

PA Media

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