A federal judge sentenced an Ellicott City man to five years in prison for aiding a group of people who were planning terror attacks in Europe, a less severe sentence than prosecutors had sought.
Mohammad Hassan Khalid, a Pakistani immigrant from Ellicott City who graduated from Mt. Hebron High School in 2011, pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists in federal court in Philadelphia in May 2012. He was arrested when he was 17 on charges of providing material support to terrorism; prosecutors had asked that he receive a 10-year prison sentence.
Khalid, 20, admitted in court to aiding the would-be terrorist nicknamed "Jihad Jane" and apologized to his parents as he was sentenced to five years in a U.S. prison, reports the Military.com website. He cried during parts of the sentencing hearing Thursday in Philadelphia, while his parents, brother and sisters wept.
Khalid’s time in prison is likely to be short because he gets credit for almost three years incarceration since his arrest, but he is likely to be deported to Pakistan once he completes his sentence.
At the time of his arrest, he was about to enter Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on a full scholarship, the website says.
"I stand before your honor humiliated," he told the judge. "Nothing I say today can excuse the mistakes of my past."
Court documents state Khalid helped a
Pennsylvania woman, Colleen LaRose, remove incriminating postings from an
online message board and created posts seeking money for LaRose's group in
Europe. LaRose, who is called "JihadJane" after her online name, was
sentenced to 10 years in prison this winter for her involvement in the terror
LaRose was plotting with others in Europe to kill a Swedish artist over a cartoon that offended Muslims, according to an Associated Press report.
An attorney for Khalid told the Baltimore Sun that associating with the group "was like a video game to him" and that a 10-year sentence would be "ridiculous."
Since being arrested, prosecutors said that Khalid cooperated with the FBI, helping with terrorist investigations and that he "may have learned respect for the law."
Khalid was living in the United States legally.