American extradited on terror charges


NEW YORK (CNN) -- An American citizen has been extradited to the United States from Great Britain, charged with providing material support to al Qaeda, a federal prosecutor said.

"This is the first extradition on terrorism charges from the United Kingdom, and it has yielded a defendant who provided material support to al Qaeda," Michael Garcia, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Saturday.

The suspect, 27-year-old Syed Hashmi, arrived in the U.S. on Friday. He was arrested in June 2006 at London's Heathrow Airport.

Federal prosecutors say Hashmi is the first American citizen to be extradited from the United Kingdom on terrorism charges. Hashmi is originally from Pakistan.

According to a federal indictment issued in 2006, Hashmi, who was known to his associates as "Fahad," conspired to transport "military gear" to al Qaeda forces fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Hashmi, who was arrested as he prepared to board a flight to Pakistan carrying a large amount of cash, also stands accused of conspiring to supply other members of the terrorist organization in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan. Federal prosecutors did not specify what materials or services Hashmi allegedly provided to al Qaeda.

If convicted, the former Queens, New York, resident faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

"If we are engaged in a war against terror -- and we most certainly are -- then Syed Hashmi aided the enemy by supplying military gear to al Qaeda," FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon said. Mershon's office worked with New York City police in investigating Hashmi.

Mershon added, "In a global community, terrorism anywhere is a threat to people everywhere."

Hashmi is scheduled for arraignment before U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska on Wednesday.

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