A Muslim imam, who headed a mosque in Florida, was sentenced on Friday and will spend the rest of his life behind bars for providing financial support to an Islamist terror group in Pakistan, the U.S. Attorney in Miami stated.
The 78-year-old Islamic cleric, Hafiz Khan, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison for funneling tens of thousands of dollars to the Pakistani Taliban terrorists, according to Justice Department officials.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola imposed the sentence on Khan who was found guilty during his March trial for terror support-related charges.
Although the prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office had recommended a 15-year sentence, Khan faced a maximum of 60 years according to the sentencing guidelines.
The evidence during his trial showed that Khan secretly funneled about $50,000 over a three-year period to Pakistan to be handed over to the Taliban, a group listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Prosecutors alleged that the illegally transferred funds helped to finance several violent attacks against United States targets in Afghanistan as well as Pakistani targets.
Khan continued to claim he was innocent and he told the judge Friday that the money was sent to Pakistan for his family, friends and a religious school he had founded in Pakistan.
Hafiz Khan was imam at a Miami mosque before his arrest by the FBI in 2011.