Atlanta: A US judge sentenced two Pakistani-Americans to 17 and 13 years in prison for conspiring to support terror groups by videoing US landmarks and sending the tapes abroad.
In the latest of a spate of cases that have raised fears that Islamic radicalization is gaining momentum in the United States, Judge William Duffey was scathing in his final remarks in the courtroom in Atlanta, Georgia.
"I`ll say this, our Gods are very different," Duffey told the first to be sentenced, Ehsanul Islam Sadequee. "This is a day of reckoning for you, Mr. Sadequee. This is to deter you and to deter others from this conduct."
Sadequee, 23, refused to stand when Duffey, a former US attorney, asked him several times to do so.
The judge had allowed him almost 45 minutes to explain why a harsh sentence should not be imposed, but the convicted terror plotter instead used the time to explain his religious beliefs.
"I have not and I will not request any sentence," said Sadequee. "It does not matter to me. I submit to no one`s authority but to the authority of God."
Sadequee`s friend Syed Haris Ahmed, a former student at Georgia Tech University, was sentenced to 13 years for conspiring to provide material support for terrorism in the US.
Duffey admonished Ahmed for not taking responsibility for his actions and suggested that he could have received a lighter sentence if he had repented.
"You and others have distorted the values of your faith. You are a myopic, self-interested person," the judge said.
Ahmed, 24, a thin man, slightly built, tried to interrupt Duffey during sentencing, but the judge scolded him and said, "the time for speaking is over, the time of reckoning is now."