By Tom Eley
24 April 2008
In a chilling example of the expanding prosecution of individuals on trumped-up charges of “terrorism,” Syed Hashmi, a 27-year-old US citizen and former student at Brooklyn College in New York City and at London Metropolitan University, is being held in solitary confinement in a federal prison on trumped-up charges of providing material support to Al Qaida. He could face as much as 70 years in prison.
The evidence against Hashmi is based on the plea bargain of Mohammed Junaid Babar, another US citizen arrested on five counts of aiding Al Qaida. In exchange for testimony against Hashmi and other cases pending in Canada and the UK, Babar stands to receive a substantially reduced sentence.
According to Babar, he stayed at Hashmi’s London apartment in 2004 en route to Pakistan to deliver items such as raincoats and waterproof socks to an Al Qaida representative. He claimed that Hashmi served as a conduit in this alleged pipeline of non-lethal material, by virtue of the fact that Babar kept the items in the student’s apartment. Hashmi is also accused of allowing Babar to use his cellular phone.
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