Judge Says Terms For “Jihad Network” Too Severe

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A federal judge imposed prison terms of life and 85 years on members of an alleged “Virginia jihad network.” U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema of Alexandria, Va., called the sentences “appalling” but that she had no choice under federal guidelines. Seifullah Chapman, 31, Massoud Khan, 32, and Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 36, were convicted by Brinkema in March of conspiring to aid a Muslim group fighting India that the government has classified a terrorist organization. “What Mr. Chapman has been found guilty of is a serious crime, but there are murderers who have served far less time,” the judge told a courtroom packed with supporters of the three men. “I have sentenced al Qaeda members who were planning attacks on these shores to far less time.”

Reductions in terms could be ordered only at the prosecution’s behest. Prosecutors will consider such a request because they want information from the three men, such as the names of others who attended terrorist camps overseas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg requested tough sentences, saying that Khan had sought to go to Afghanistan and fight U.S. troops after Sept. 11, 2001. “While the Pentagon was still smoking, Mr. Khan decided now is the appropriate time to go fight the Americans,” Kromberg said. “For that, he deserves every day for which this court is about to sentence him to.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44628-2004Jun15.html

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