IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Pakistani student sentenced on weapons charge

/ Source: The Associated Press

A Pakistani student was sentenced to 10 months in prison Thursday for firing weapons with two men accused of conspiring to join the Taliban.

A judge in January convicted Shiraz Syed Qazi, 26, of possessing a firearm, which is illegal for nonimmigrants on a student visa. Qazi waived his right to a jury trial.

He will get credit for the six months he has already served in jail and probably will be deported after his sentence, the judge said.

Qazi, two other Pakistanis and another man had been photographed during a camping trip in 2005 firing and holding guns. Authorities said the trip was part of paramilitary training for the men.

"This defendant was (shooting) weapons with people who were intent on engaging in Jihad against the United States," federal prosecutor Shelley Hicks said.

Qazi said he had always tried to obey the law and had never been in trouble. His attorney argued he simply was not aware that the immigration law had been changed in 1998 to make his possessing a weapon illegal.

Two of the men arrested with Qazi, Adnan Babar Mirza and Kobie Diallo Williams, were charged with conspiracy to join the Taliban and fight U.S. forces. Prosecutors said there was no evidence Qazi or the fourth man, Syed Maaz Shah, did anything but fire weapons with them.

Mirza, a 29-year-old Pakistani who overstayed a student visa, is scheduled to go to trial in October. He also faces three federal firearms charges. The counts carry penalties of five to 10 years in prison.

Williams, 33, a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced in October.

Shah, a 19-year-old Pakistani student, was charged with possession of a firearm by an alien and is scheduled for trial next week.