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Ex-Brooklyn College Student Hashmi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison
By Chad Bray Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--A former Brooklyn College student was sentenced to 15 years in prison
Wednesday, after he admitted in April to letting a friend from Queens stay in his apartment in London in 2004 and briefly storing items there that were later given to al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan.
At a hearing, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in Manhattan sentenced Hashmi to 180 months in prison, to be followed by three years supervised release.
"As the government has pointed out, Mr. Hashmi knew exactly what he was doing and where that equipment stored in his apartment was going," the judge said.
Hashmi, 30, pleaded guilty on eve of his trial in April to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda.
In a rambling statement that lasted more than 10 minutes, Syed Hashmi, a Pakistan native and naturalized U.S. citizen, cited the Koran several times, railed against the conditions of his incarceration and tried to explain his crime, claiming in part he gave his friend money for his friend's sick daughter.
At times he read the statement so quickly, it was hard to hear. The judge asked him to speak slower at one point.
"I take full responsibility for my actions,"
Hashmi, who has a long, black beard, broke down several times during his statement.
He wore a white skullcap and blue prison garb.
At his plea hearing in April, Hashmi said a friend told him he was taking waterproof socks, ponchos and outdoor camping equipment to al Qaeda, and he gave the friend $300 to buy a plane ticket to Pakistan. Prosecutors had described the items as "military gear" in court filings.
Hashmi is the first person to be extradited from the U.K. to face terrorism charges in the U.S. He was taken into custody at London's Heathrow Airport in June 2006 and brought to the U.S. in May 2007.
As part of his incarceration, Hashmi has been held in a special housing unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and is subject to so-called "special administrative measures," which include limits on his ability to meet with persons outside the presence of his attorney, limits on his contact with the news media and recordings of conversations between his cell and other inmates.
His supporters claim the measures have severely limited his ability to communicate with the outside world and that he's not allowed any physical contact with family members.
-By Chad Bray, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-227-2017; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ex-Brooklyn College Student Hashmi Sentenced To 15 Years In Prison - WSJ.com