Ahmad Wais Afzali

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Ahmad Wais Afzali (b. 1972 (age 44–45)) is an imam, formerly from Queens, New York. He was deported from the United States in 2010 as part of a plea bargain after lying to the American FBI regarding a conversation he had held with acquaintance Najibullah Zazi,[1] a man later convicted of terrorism charges in the United States.

Background[edit]

Afzali had been occasionally approached by the New York City Police and the FBI, who would ask him for information regarding terrorism suspects.[2] Afzali moved to the U.S. in 1981.[3] He reportedly had helped authorities by answering routine questions about individuals they were interested in. Afzali was not a paid informant, and had been called upon infrequently.

He was arrested on September 19, 2009, on "charges of lying in a matter involving terrorism."[4]

Connection to 2009 terror plot[edit]

Najibullah Zazi, a citizen of Afghanistan and legal resident of the U.S., fell under suspicion by U.S. authorities.[4] Among the charges Afzali faced was that, during his September 11, 2009, conversation, he warned Zazi that the police had come asking questions about him, and then lied to the FBI about having done so in two subsequent interrogations. He also said that the call was being monitored. Afzali was represented by human rights lawyer Ron Kuby.[3][5] He was released on secured bail of $1.5 million.

On March 4, 2010, in a plea bargain Afzali pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of lying to U.S. federal agents, and said he was sorry.[6] He faced up to six months in prison, and as part of the plea arrangement the government agreed not to request any jail time.[6][7][8] Brooklyn federal judge Frederic Block sentenced Afzali on April 15, 2010.[1]

Deportation[edit]

Afzali voluntarily left the U.S. on 5 July, within 90 days of his sentencing.[1][7] As a felon and under the agreement of his plea deal, he is not allowed to return to the U.S. except by special permission.[9] Most of Afzali's family remains in the United States.[1]

According to his lawyer, Afzali's last words in the United States were "God Bless America."[1] Afzali denied ever having intended to aid Zazi or deceive American authorities.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Long, Colleen, "Imam booted out of U.S.: 'God bless America'". MSNBC, 6 July 2010.
  2. ^ Al Baker, Karen Zraik (2009-09-20). "Lawyer Defends Queens Imam Arrested in Terror Inquiry". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. 
  3. ^ a b Tina Susman, Josh Meyer (2009-09-21). "Lawyer for imam charged in alleged terrorism plot says he is a scapegoat". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. 
  4. ^ a b Catherine Tsai, P. Solomon Banda (2009-09-21). "Timeline of events in NYC terror probe". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. 
  5. ^ Anthony M. Destefano (2009-09-21). "Flushing imam ordered held without bail in terror case". Newsday. Archived from the original on 2009-09-22. 
  6. ^ a b Efrati, Amir (March 4, 2010). "Imam Pleads Guilty in New York Terror Case". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Hurtado, Patricia (March 4, 2010). "Afzali Admits He Lied During Subway Bomb Plot Probe". Business Week. Retrieved 6 March 2010. [permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Sulzberger, A.G., "Imam Snared in Terror Plot Admits He Lied to the F.B.I.", The New York Times, March 4, 2010, accessed March 5, 2010
  9. ^ "Queens Imam Agrees To Plea Deal In Subway Bomb Plot", NY1 News, March 4, 2010, accessed March 4, 2010