US: 3 Pak men plead guilty to terror charges
Washington: Three Pakistani nationals,
accused of helping to smuggle into the US a member of a
terrorist organisation, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to
provide material support to the Pakistani Taliban.
Irfan Ul Haq (37), Qasim Ali (32) and Zahid Yousaf (43),
pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material
support to a designated foreign terrorist organisation at a
court hearing yesterday.
The sentencing is scheduled for December 9, wherein each
of the defendants faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in
prison and a fine of up to USD 250,000.
As part of their plea agreements, the defendants have
agreed to a stipulated order of removal to Pakistan upon the
completion of their criminal sentences.
"These defendants sought to smuggle someone they believed
to be a member of a terrorist organisation from halfway around
the world into the United States," said Assistant Attorney
General Lanny A Breuer.
"For financial profit, they were willing to jeopardise the
safety and security of the American people. Human smuggling
operations pose a serious risk to our national security, and
we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement
partners at home and abroad to combat this dangerous threat,"
Irfan, Ali and Yousaf were arrested in Miami on March 13,
on an indictment filed in the District of Columbia, charging
them with one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.
Based on the defendants` guilty pleas to terrorism
conspiracy charges, the government will dismiss at the
sentencing hearing the charges of conspiracy to commit alien
smuggling against the defendants.
The Justice Department said Irfan, Ali and Yousaf admitted
that between January 3 and March 10 they conspired to provide
material support to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the
form of false documentation and identification, knowing that
the TTP engages in terrorist activity and terrorism.
According to court documents, the three men conducted a
human smuggling operation in Quito, Ecuador, that attempted to
smuggle an individual they believed to be a member of the TTP
from Pakistan into the United States.
According to the court documents, the defendants agreed to
move this person from Pakistan into the United States, despite
his purported affiliation with the TTP.