Hamid Hayat Sentenced to 24 Years in Connection with Terrorism Charges

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hamid Hayat, age 24, of Lodi, Calif. was sentenced today to 24 years imprisonment by Chief Judge Garland E. Burrell , Jr., in connection with a series of terrorism charges related to his 2003/2004...

According to evidence adduced at trial, between March, 2003 and August, 2003, defendant Hayat, during the course of numerous recorded conversations with a cooperating witness, pledged his belief in [violent] jihad, indicated that jihad was the duty of every Muslim, indicated that he had knowledge of jihadi camps including Jaish-e-Muhammed camps in the Balakot/Mansehar area, pledged to go to a jihadi training camp, and indicated that he, in fact, was going to jihadi training after Ramadan in 2003 (which was to occur at the end of November, 2003).

On May 30, 2005 , while en route back to the United States from Pakistan , defendant Hayat's plane was diverted to Narita, Japan . When questioned by the FBI on that day, Hamid Hayat concealed the fact that he had received jihadi training and that he was returning to the United States for the purpose of waging violent jihad. Hayat was thereafter permitted to return to the United States .

On June 3 and 4, 2005, when questioned by the FBI in Lodi and Sacramento , California, defendant Hayat again attempted to conceal the fact that he had received jihadi training, and that he had returned to the United States for the purpose of waging violent jihad.

On June 4, 2005 , after advisement and waiver of his rights, defendant Hamid Hayat admitted during three separate interviews, including two videotaped interviews, that he attended a jihadi training camp in Pakistan in 2000 for a few days. Defendant also admitted that he attended a camp in 2003/2004 located in the vicinity of Balakot, Pakistan , and actively trained at this camp for approximately three to six months. Defendant further admitted that he was trained for violent jihad, that he came to the United States for violent jihad, and that he was prepared to wage violent jihad upon the receipt of orders.

As part of the evidence at trial, a government expert regarding Pakistani extremist groups opined that jihadi training camps, in fact, existed and operated in various parts of Pakistan from 2000 to 2005, and specifically opined that a series of camps were located in the Balakot area of Pakistan . In addition, a Department of Defense imagery expert opined that he was "confident" that certain images of buildings and a location in the vicinity of Balakot were, in fact, a militant training camp.

The government further introduced a series of incriminating writings seized from Hamid Hayat on the day of his arrest on June 5, 2005 and the Hayat home during execution of a federal search warrant on June 7 .

Agents seized an Arabic supplication from Hamid Hayat's wallet which stated, "Oh Allah we place you at their throats and we seek refuge in you from their evils." According to a government expert in Islamic law, the supplication was of the type that would be carried by a warrior who perceived himself as being engaged in war for God against an enemy.

Agents also seized a "jihadi scrapbook" bearing the name of Hamid Hayat. The scrapbook included a series of newspaper articles (including articles from well-known extremist groups in Pakistan ) that extolled the military efforts of the Taliban, expressed support for Osama Bin Laden and other known terrorists, and espoused virulent anti-American sentiments.

Agents also recovered a June, 2000 magazine from Jaish-e-Muhammed, a well known extremist group in Pakistan . The magazine included various articles supportive of violent jihad, such as an editorial by Masood Azhar arguing that Pakistani men should focus on violent jihad rather than sports, profiles of jihadi martyrs who lost their lives in the disputed Kashmir region, and an article about the mujahideen movement in the Philippines which suggested that it was the religious and moral responsibility of Islam to help out mujahideen wherever they are fighting.

Agents also recovered two Urdu books by Jaish-e-Muhammed leader Masood Azhar entitled the Virtues of Jihad (2000) and Windows from the Prison (2003). In these books Azhar, among other things, extolled the concept of violent jihad, suggested that violent jihad was the duty of every Muslim and a central element of Islam, and suggested that violent jihad should be waged around the world including countries like the United States .

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