Queens Terrorist Set Free After Helping FBI Track Other Suspects

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Queens man who flew to Pakistan after Sept. 11 to join al Qaida was set free in New York by a Manhattan federal judge in December because he had cooperated with the FBI.

    A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara confirms admitted terrorist Mohammed Junaid Babar is now a free man but declined further comment.

    Babar gave interviews in Pakistan in 2002 claiming "I will kill every American that I see in Afghanistan and while I'm in Pakistan if I see them in Pakistan I will kill every American soldier I see in Pakistan."

    After his arrest, Babar helped the FBI track suspects in the so-called Citicorp center bomb plot back in 2005 and helped British authorities foil a fertilizer bomb plot targeting trains and landmarks in 2006. Officials said Babar also had ties to Mohammed Siddique Khan -- the terrorist who successfully carried out the 7/7 subway bombings in London.

    Babar was sentenced in open court on December 10 but it the scheduled hearing apparently was not placed on any public calendar.
    During the hearing, Babar voiced regret. "As far as my decisions in the past, I can't go back and change them. I regret the decisions that I made. Hopefully going forward I can just finish school and stay with my family," he said.
    A transcript of the hearing shows assistant US attorney Brandon McGuire called Babar's cooperation "exceptional." "The defendant has testified previously at four different trials involving numerous terrorism defendants, three trials in the UK and one in Canada," McGuire said.

    McGuire added another terrorist pleaded guilty in the U.S. thanks to Babar's cooperation. Details and other documents relating to the freeing of the terrorist remain sealed by the Judge.

    Babar lived in Jamaica Queens and was arrested by the FBI after he returned to New York from Pakistan nearly 7 years ago.

    Babar's own mother was in the World Trade Center on 9-11 and survived. When he first agreed to cooperate, officials at the time suggested Babar would face 30 years in prison for his al Qaeda ties. And probation officials recommended a 30-year term at sentencing.
    But Judge Marrero's sentence of  "time served" means that Babar served just 4 1/2 years. A court spokeswoman would not comment on the sentence or why the hearing was not on a public calendar in advance.

    Babar's attorney, Daniel Ollen, did not return calls for comment Monday.

    News of Babar's release was first reported by the British newspaper The Guardian. In london - a lawyer representing victims of the 7/7 subway bombings called babar's release quote "crazy." "There is no way a reduction of this size has any regard to the feelings of victims." At the Jamaica, Queens house where Babar once lived, a woman who answered the door said she had not seen him since his arrest and said she did not know where he is now. Babar was offered to take part in the witness protection program records show. US Attorney Bharara issued a statement Tuesday explaining in part his office's deal with Babar. “Mohammed Junaid Babar was first approached by U.S. law enforcement in connection with his terrorist activities on April 6, 2004. Based, in part, on the statements he made to law enforcement agents, Babar was arrested on April 10, 2004 and charged with terrorism offenses. Prior to that time, Babar never worked for the U.S. Government. Subsequent to his arrest, Babar agreed to cooperate with the U.S. Government. As part of that cooperation, Babar testified as a government witness in three terrorism trials in England and in one terrorism trial in Canada. In total, eight defendants were convicted of terrorism offenses at those trials, and five of them were subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. All relevant facts regarding Babar’s conduct and cooperation were brought to the attention of the sentencing judge.” _____________________________________________