US jails Albanian over thwarted trip to join jihadists

A 31-year-old Albanian, arrested for trying to travel from New York to Pakistan, was sentenced to 16 years in an American prison on Thursday for terrorism.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 14, 2015, 03:22 AM IST

New York: A 31-year-old Albanian, arrested for trying to travel from New York to Pakistan, was sentenced to 16 years in an American prison on Thursday for terrorism.

Agron Hasbajrami pleaded guilty in June to attempting and conspiring to support terrorists, nearly four years after he was arrested preparing to board a flight to Turkey in September 2011.

It was his second guilty plea, after he had withdrawn his first.

Prosecutors said he would be deported upon release. Hasbajrami moved to the United States in 2008 and was a legal resident in Brooklyn, New York before his arrest.

In 2011, Hasbajrami wired more than $1,000 to "support terrorist activities" in Pakistan and Afghanistan before trying to travel to Pakistan`s tribal belt to join jihadists, prosecutors said.

He had expressed his desire to die as a martyr in an email to an unnamed individual in Pakistan, who claimed to be a member of an armed group that killed US soldiers and kidnapped Westerners.

On September 6, 2011, Hasbajrami was arrested at New York`s JFK airport, carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear a day after buying a one-way ticket to Turkey, from where he planned to travel to Pakistan.

US agents found a note reading "Do not wait for invasion, the time is martyrdom time," during a search of his Brooklyn home.

Hasbajrami was arrested four months after US special forces killed Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.