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Hasbajrami sentenced to 15 years

Jan. 9, 2013 at 2:11 AM

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York Tuesday sentenced Agron Hasbajrami to 15 years in prison for supporting a terrorist group in Pakistan, records show.

Hasbajrami, 28, a citizen of Albania, was arrested at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in September 2011 while trying to travel to tribal areas in Pakistan. He pled guilty in April to supporting the terrorist group, which was not identified in court documents. Prosecutors dropped three additional charges as part of a plea deal that spared him a life sentence, The New York Times reported.

"If I were the prosecutor, I wouldn't have given you this deal," Judge John Gleeson said in handing down the 15-year sentence in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. "What you did is that serious a crime. It is that worthy of condemnation."

The U.S. Justice Department said at the time of his arrest Hasbajrami "told his contact that he wished to travel abroad to 'marry with the girls in paradise,' using jihadist rhetoric to describe his desire to die as a martyr."

Federal prosecutors said he also sent more than $1,000 to Pakistan "to support his contact's terrorist efforts."

Hasbajrami was arrested at JFK before he could board a flight to Turkey and was carrying a tent, boots and cold-weather gear.

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