April 17, 2014
An immigrant teen who had earned a scholarship to an elite U.S. college but helped solicit support for Jihadists he met online was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid had earned a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University after just a few years in the United States, where his family was building a new life after leaving Pakistan.
As his parents and siblings worked to achieve the American dream, he retreated to his bedroom in the family’s cramped apartment near Baltimore, and joined radical Islamist chat rooms by the time he was 15. He was soon conversing with Coleen LaRose, a troubled Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” and other extremists.
“The upheavals of my life were distorted into a force of hate so strong that it wrapped me in its claws,” Khalid, now 21, told U.S. Judge Petrese B. Tucker. He said he had trouble speaking without being misunderstood.
Defense lawyers argued that Khalid was isolated and vulnerable because he was young, an immigrant and had Asperger’s syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder diagnosed since his arrest.
Federal prosecutors say Khalid used his “brilliance and eloquence,” along with his computer and video skills, to help them translate documents and try to recruit westerners. That got the attention of the FBI, which visited Khalid repeatedly.
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ex-honors-students-terror-sentencing-scheduled/2014/04/17/14cd9ab8-c5f7-11e3-b708-471bae3cb10c_story.html
PHILADELPHIA — A teen from Pakistan with a once-bright future in the U.S. pleaded guilty Friday to terrorism charges for helping an American woman dubbed “Jihad Jane” support an Irish terror cell planning to wage a Muslim holy war in Europe.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid had won a full scholarship to prestigious Johns Hopkins University before the FBI arrested him last summer at 17, making him the rare juvenile held in federal custody.
Khalid, now 18, faces up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. In a secret life online, the high school honors student had agreed to raise money and recruit terrorists for jihad.
PHILADELPHIA — A Maryland teenager charged in a global terrorism plot plans to plead guilty in Pennsylvania.
Court papers filed Monday show 18-year-old Mohammad Hassan Khalid is due in court in Philadelphia for a change-of-plea hearing next month.
Khalid was an Ellicott City, Md., high school honors student when he became a rare juvenile arrested and detained by the FBI.
He’s charged with helping a Pennsylvania woman dubbed Jihad Jane raise money and recruits for a Muslim holy war. He pleaded not guilty in October.
His lawyer has declined to comment on the April 2 plea hearing. A prosecutor hasn’t returned a message seeking comment.