A British man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to set up a terrorist training camp in the United States.
Haroon Aswat, a paranoid schizophrenic from Dewsbury, was sentenced in the US after being extradited there three years ago. He was convicted of travelling there in 1999 at the behest of hate preacher Abu Hamza with the intent of setting up the camp.
He spent two months in Seattle trying to buy land for the camp, and if the plan had succeeded would have provided religious training there.
He later travelled to Pakistan where he met two men who would later go on to be bombers in the 7/7 attack in London.
Despite the 20-year sentence he is likely only to serve six, having already spend a decade in custody. The Independent says he will also apply to serve his sentence in a UK prison, a move the judge would reportedly support.
The European Court of Human Rights initially blocked his extradition to the United States over concerns the US authorities would be able to provide him with suitable medical treatment. They yielded, however, once the US provided adequate assurances.
Aswat insisted he had changed his ways, telling the hearing: “I have chosen patience over retaliation, forgiveness over enmity and peace over violence,” however the prosecution said: “To paint this man as a pacifist is a complete distortion of the truth.”
Prosecutors added that Aswat was a “loyal and devoted follower” of Abu Hamza, who was himself sentenced to life imprisonment earlier this year. Aswat also admitted to conspiring to provide material support to the Al Qaeda terror group.
Abu Hamza was handed two life sentences with no chance of parole by a New York court in January this year after he was found guilty of 11 charges of terrorism and kidnapping.
The judge ruled that the 56-year-old, who lost both arms while fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, showed no sign of remorse and he would continue to inspire other Muslims to violence if he were ever released.
Haroon Aswat’s hometown of Dewsbury has become notorious in recent years after a number of high-profile terror cases were linked to the town. In June, Breitbart London reported how 17-year-old Talha Asmal, who hails from the town, became Britain’s youngest ISIS suicide bomber.
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