News and Press Releases

Defendant Sentenced for Providing Material Support to Terrorists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and the members of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), announce today that Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 77, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., for providing material support to terrorists, including the Pakistani Taliban. According to public records, defendant Hafiz Khan was the Imam at the Miami Masjid in Miami, Florida. The indictment did not allege that the masjid participated in the defendant’s scheme.

Khan was convicted by a jury on March 4, 2013, after two months of trial, on charges of conspiring to provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, 18 U.S.C. ? 2339A, and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically, the Pakistani Taliban, 18 U.S.C. ? 2339B.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The sentence today demonstrates that no matter who you are or what your motive may be, financing terrorism will not be tolerated by our criminal justice system, and will be punished severely. Today’s sentence sends a powerful message to anyone who thinks they have a reason to support terrorism: you cannot use the freedoms of this country to support terrorism. It will not be tolerated. You will be brought to justice.”

"Terrorists in Pakistan have lost a reliable source of funding and the man responsible for that funding, Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, is now paying the price for his actions," said Xanthie Mangum, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Miami. "Terrorism remains the FBI's top priority."

The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik¬e Taliban Pakistan, Tehrik¬I¬Taliban, Tehrik-e-Taliban, and Tehreek¬e¬Taliban, is a Pakistan-based terrorist organization formed in or around December 2007 by an alliance of radical Islamist militants. On September 1, 2010, the United States Department of State formally designated the Pakistani Taliban as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, under Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to the evidence at trial, Khan, with the help of persons in South Florida and Pakistan, sent money and other material support to Pakistani Taliban contacts and sympathizers overseas. The Pakistani Taliban?s objectives include resistance against the lawful Pakistani government, enforcement of strict Islamic law known as Sharia, and opposition to the United States and coalition armed forces fighting in neighboring Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban has committed numerous acts of violence in Pakistan and elsewhere, including suicide bombings which resulted in the death of civilians as well as Pakistani police, army, and government personnel, and also provided financing and training for the attempted bombing of New York City’s Times Square in May 2010.

According to the evidence at trial, Khan sought to aid the Pakistani Taliban?s fight against the Pakistani government and its perceived allies, including the United States, by supporting acts of murder, kidnapping, and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere, in order to displace the lawful government of Pakistan and to establish Sharia. Khan transferred money from the United States to Pakistani Taliban supporters in Pakistan, primarily using bank accounts and wire transfer services in the United States and Pakistan. These funds were intended to purchase guns for the Pakistani Taliban, to sustain militants and their families, and generally to promote the Pakistani Taliban?s cause. Khan also solicited and collected money in the United States for that purpose, taking great care to conceal his activities. In one recorded conversation introduced as evidence at trial, Khan stated that money cannot be sent openly to the Pakistani Taliban, but must instead be sent covertly through its supporters. Khan also used a madrassa he founded in Pakistan (where he was born) to provide shelter and other support to Pakistani Taliban militants. In another recorded conversation introduced as evidence at trial, Khan claimed that children from his madrassa have gone to train to kill Americans in neighboring Afghanistan.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of State, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Miami-Dade Police, City of Miami Police, City of Miramar Police, City of Margate Police, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the members of the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Shipley, Sivashree Sundaram, and Michael Patrick Sullivan, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Bridget Behling from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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