An elderly Muslim cleric in South Florida has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for his conviction on charges of funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola imposed the sentence Friday on 78-year-old Hafiz Khan, who was convicted in March of four terror support-related charges. Federal prosecutors recommended a 15-year sentence and Khan faced a maximum of 60 years.
"He is shocked at the fact that he will be dying in jail," said his attorney Khurrum Wahid.
Trial evidence showed Khan arranged to send about $50,000 over a three-year period to Pakistan. Prosecutors argued the money helped finance violent attacks against both U.S. and Pakistani targets. Khan told the judge Friday the money was for family, friends and a religious school he founded.
Khan was imam at a Miami mosque before his 2011 arrest.
"We are very disappointed because I think 25 years is a lot for something he didn't do, and I know this because I was somebody who was charged in the case here," said his son Irfan Khan.
Irfan Khan and his brother Izhar were initially charged with their father, but their charges were later dropped.
Attorneys representing the government did not comment after the sentence.
Khan even spoke on his own behalf, saying he is sick and he is against terrorism.
"I think it both helped him at some point and it hurt him in some points," said Wahid about whether the testimony may have hurt him. "Clearly as to the sentencing, it hurt him."