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US cabbie gets jail term in terrorism case

Washington/New York: A Pakistani-American cab driver in Chicago, who gave money to al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri for terror attacks in India, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on charges of providing financial assistance to al Qaeda.

Raja Lahrasib Khan, 58, a naturalised US citizen, had pleaded guilty in February this year on one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, following his arrest in March 2010.

US District Judge James Zagel in Chicago said Khan displayed "toxic altruism" while sentencing him to 90-months in prison followed by lifetime supervised release.

In addition, the judge said it was a "profoundly aggravating factor" that Khan`s crime occurred after he voluntarily chose to become a naturalised US citizen.

Although Khan`s actual donations of approximately USD500 to USD550 and attempted donation of USD1,000 were not incredibly substantial amounts, donations need not be large to be of assistance to terrorist organizations, the government argued, and the judge noted as well.

Khan, who was born and resided in Pakistan occupied Kashmir before immigrating to the US in late 1970s, admitted that he met Kashmiri in Pakistan in the early to mid-2000s and again in 2008.

At the time of his second meeting, he knew that Kashmiri was working with al Qaeda, in addition to leading attacks against Indian government in Kashmir, a US justice department statement said.

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