On Wednesday, a U. S. resident who beseeched guilty of attempting to aid al Qaeda was punished for 15 years in jail, followed by three years of overseen release.
Had he not begged guilty, 30-year-old Syed Hashmi had to endure 70 years in solitary detention, a punishment that his attorney compared to a death term.
At the federal court in lower Manhattan, Hashmi's relatives and peers filled up the courtroom and two flooded rooms for his hearing.
Hashmi came to the courtroom, donning a white skull cap, a long beard and a salwar kameez, a conventional Pakistani dress of a long tunic with baggy pants.
He sat on his seat between his attorneys and declined to get up as Judge Loretta Preska made an entry in the courtroom, moving his head 'no' when elbowed by his defense lawyer, Sean Maher.
Maher talked first, reminding the Judge that only six weeks back, Hashmi had acknowledged accountability for his deeds by beseeching guilty of helping al Qaeda.
Maher requested the court to contemplate that his client's acts were impetuous and done in immaturity.
Maher said, "Mr. Hashmi has never been a member of al Qaeda or connected to al Qaeda".
Then Hashmi read out a long written statement starting with an Arabic prayer from the Quran and quickly quoting different passages in English.