US sentences three Pakistani over terror case

A Pakistani man convicted on terrorism charges has been sentenced to more than four years in jail in the United States over a plot to smuggle a member of the Pakistani Taliban into the country.

Irfan Ul Haq, 37 who last September pleaded guilty along with two other Pakistanis to conspiracy to provide support to a terror organization was sentenced to 50 months in jail by a US federal judge in Washington on Thursday.

The other two men were sentenced last month to 40 months and 36 months in prison over the same plot, carried out between January and March 2011. All three men have agreed to return to Pakistan following their sentences.

“Haq conspired with others to smuggle into the United States an individual who was believed to be a member of a foreign terrorist organization,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a statement.

“Such conduct presents a serious threat to our national security.”

The US Justice Department said undercover law enforcement agents had directed “confidential sources” to contact the three men — then residing in Ecuador — to request help in smuggling a fictitious individual, said to be a member of the Pakistani Taliban, into the United States.

Haq, according to the court documents, told the sources it was “not their concern” what the men “want to do in the United States — hard labor, sweep floor, wash dishes in a hotel, or blow up. That will be up to them.”

It said the three men accepted payment for the operation, without specifying how much, and that they produced a false Pakistani passport.

The sting operation was carried out by the US Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Ecuadorian national police, the Justice Department said.

The three men, who were arrested in Miami on March 13, had faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.