NY Iman Pleads in Zazi Case, Will Be Deported

New York Imam, Ahmad Wais Afzali, who told Najibullah Zazi's father the police had inquired about his son, pleaded guilty today to making a false statement to the FBI. There is no terror component to the charge. He faces up to six months, but the Government is not requesting incarceration. He will be deported.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Afzali appeared distraught about leaving the country he has called home since he left Afghanistan as a young boy. His wife and two children from a previous marriage all hold United States citizenship. He said he did not know where he would go.

“My whole tribe is here,” Mr. Afzali said. To return to Afghanistan, he offered, would be to “sign my death sentence.”

Considering that Afzali also told the elder Zazi he would set up a meeting between Najibullah and his friend and the cops, I think this is too harsh. [More...]

Mr. Afzali said he had a phone conversation with Mr. Zazi in which he told the younger man that law enforcement officials had inquired about him, and he offered to set up a meeting with the police and urged him: “Don’t get involved in Afghanistan garbage.”

He says he didn't know the seriousness of what Zazi was being investigated for. He'd provided assistance to the police for years. I wonder what the NY cops and FBI threatened him with that made him afraid to tell them he spoke with Zazi's father.

They should have offered him a misdemeanor.

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    Sounds like an honest mistake .. (none / 0) (#1)
    by nyrias on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 01:45:46 PM EST
    although on the bright side ....

    "Under the agreement reached with prosecutors, Mr. Afzali pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the F.B.I., but the reduced charge did not specify that the lie occurred in the course of a terrorism investigation.

    As a result, Mr. Afzali faces up to six months in prison rather than up to eight years when he is sentenced in April. The government has agreed not to request any time in jail, said Ronald L. Kuby, a lawyer for Mr. Afzali."

    If they throw the book at him, he could go to jail for a long long time.

    Agree -- too harsh. (none / 0) (#2)
    by jawbone on Fri Mar 05, 2010 at 05:37:55 PM EST
    I figured he would plead even if not guilty of anything, since going to trial really not safe for persons with brown skin, foreign birth, and also Muslim.

    I feel really sorry for this guy and his family. He was working with NYPD, fer cryin' out loud!