Defendant Funneled Money to the Khalistan Commando Force, a Sikh Separatist Terrorist Organization Responsible for Thousands of Deaths in India
Khalid Awan was re-sentenced yesterday to 14 years’ imprisonment by the Honorable Allyne R. Ross for providing material support and resources to the Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) and related terrorism charges. On December 20, 2006, a federal jury in Brooklyn, New York found Awan guilty of providing money and financial services to the KCF, a terrorist organization responsible for thousands of deaths in India since its founding in 1986.
The sentencing was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
KCF was formed in 1986 and is comprised of Sikh militants who seek to establish a separate Sikh state in the Punjab region of India. The organization has engaged in numerous assassinations of prominent Indian government officials—including that of Chief Minister Beant Singh of Punjab in 1995—and hundreds of bombings, acts of sabotage, and kidnappings.
The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force began the investigation in 2003 after an inmate at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Awan was incarcerated on federal credit card fraud charges, reported that Awan boasted of his relationship with Paramjit Singh Panjwar, the leader of the KCF and one of the 10 most wanted fugitives in India. At Awan’s trial, the government offered recordings of Awan’s prison telephone calls to Panjwar, Pakistan, in which Awan spoke of recruiting new members for the KCF and admitted having had sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to KCF in the past.
Following his trial convictions, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Awan’s three counts of conviction but vacated his sentence and remanded his case to the district court, instructing the court to determine whether Awan’s crimes were intended to promote or involved federal crimes of terrorism under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. During yesterday’s sentencing proceeding, the district court found that all three of Awan’s crimes intended to promote federal crimes of terrorism and imposed a sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment.
United States Attorney Lynch thanked the FBI, the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Homeland Security, the government of India, and the Punjab Police Department for their cooperation in this case.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Kazemi.
Name: Khalid Awan