With India help, FBI lands KCF abettor in jail

Thanks to police cooperation between the U.S. and India, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Joint Terrorism Task Force has secured the conviction of an accused for providing material support and resources to the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and related terrorism charges.

Khalid Awan was re-sentenced earlier this month to 14 years' imprisonment in the Eastern District of New York, the FBI said in a press release.

On December 20, 2006, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York, found Awan guilty of providing money and financial services to the KCF, a terrorist organisation respo nsible for thousands of deaths in India. U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch thanked the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Homeland Security, the government of India and the Punjab Police department for their cooperation.

“The KCF was formed in 1986 and is comprised of Sikh militants who seek to establish a separate Sikh State in Punjab. The organisation has engaged in numerous assassinations of prominent Indian government officials — including that of Chief Minister Beant Singh of Punjab in 1995 — and hundreds of bombings, acts of sabotage, and kidnappings,” the release said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force began investigation in 2003 after an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Awan was incarcerated on federal credit card fraud charges, reported that the accused boasted of his relationship with Paramjit Singh Panjwar, KCF leader and one of the 10 most wanted fugitives in India.

At Awan's trial, the government offered recordings of his prison phone calls to Panjwar, Pakistan, in which he spoke of recruiting members to the KCF and admitted to having sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to the outfit in the past.

“Following his trial convictions, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Awan's three counts of conviction but vacated his sentence and remanded his case to the district court, instructing the court to determine whether Awan's crimes were intended to promote or involved federal crimes of terrorism under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. During sentencing proceedings, the district court found that all three of Awan's crimes were intended to promote federal crimes of terrorism.”

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