- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 15, 2004

An American Muslim man was sentenced yesterday to life in prison for his role in supporting what prosecutors called a “Virginia jihad network” that used paintball games in 2000 and 2001 in Fredericksburg to train for holy war.

Masoud Khan, 32, of Gaithersburg received a life sentence plus six years from Judge Leonie Brinkema in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

Seifullah Chapman, 31, of Alexandria and Hammad Abdur-Raheem, 35, of Falls Church were sentenced to 85 years and eight years in prison, respectively.

“The sentences are appropriate and reflect the seriousness of the offenses,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty said yesterday.

The three men conspired to engage in holy war against nations deemed hostile to Islam, including the United States, prosecutors said.

All three faced a potential maximum sentence of life in prison; Khan and Chapman faced mandatory minimum sentences of 90 and 35 years, respectively.

The three men and eight others, all Muslims, were indicted in June. Khan, Chapman and Abdur-Raheem, who are all native U.S. citizens, faced the most serious charges.

Six subsequently pleaded guilty and five testified against the three who were sentenced yesterday. The three men were found guilty March 4 of varying charges of conspiracy to support terrorist operations and illegal use of firearms.

Khan, who served seven years in the Army, was found guilty of conspiracy, conspiracy to levy war against the United States, conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda, conspiracy to contribute service to the Taliban, conspiracy to give material support to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, conspiracy to possess and use firearms for a violent crime, and two charges of using a firearm in a crime.

Khan traveled to Pakistan just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks and trained with Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. government designated a terrorist organization in December 2001.

Prosecutor Gordon Krom-berg said Khan’s actions were worse than those of his co-defendants.

“While the Pentagon is still smoking, Mr. Khan decided now is the time to fight against Americans in Afghanistan. He deserves every day he gets,” Mr. Kromberg said.

Before Khan was sentenced, he maintained his innocence and said his religion was the only reason he was being prosecuted.

Chapman, who served in the Marines, was found guilty of conspiracy, conspiracy to support Lashkar-e-Taiba, two counts of conspiracy to use firearms in violent crimes, and using firearms in violent crimes. Chapman admitted attending the Lashkar camp in August 2001 but said he did so not to train for holy war but for a grueling physical challenge in the rugged Pakistani mountains.

Abdur-Raheem, who never traveled to Pakistan, was found guilty of conspiracy, conspiracy to support Lashkar-e-Taiba, and conspiracy to use firearms in violent crimes.

• Jerry Seper contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide