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Former Jamaica terrorist freed

The federal government released a Jamaica man who was involved with terrorist activities overseas and later cooperated with the authorities in investigations against al-Qaeda, from custody two months ago for his assistance, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan said.

Mohammed Junaid Babar, 35, was released from federal custody Dec. 10 and sentenced with time served and 10 years post-release supervision for his guilty plea on several charges, including providing support to terrorist groups, the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District said.

Although the Pakistani-born man helped to start a terrorist training camp in his native country after Sept. 11, 2001, federal prosecutors said information he provided while in prison was valuable in investigations and trials of other terrorists around the world.

“Over the last [6 1/2] years, the level of assistance provided by Babar to both the U.S. government and foreign governments has been extraordinary,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.

Babar, who was raised in Jamaica after his family emigrated from Pakistan, was involved with an Islamic fundamentalist group called al-Muhajiroun while living in the United States, according to court documents.

Babar left the United States after the 2001 terrorist attacks and worked with the Pakistani branch of al-Muhajiroun, the U.S. attorney’s office said. He had been interviewed by a British television network, ITN News Five, and spoke harshly for his hate for the United States.

“I am willing to kill the Americans,” he said.

During his time in Pakistan, he associated himself with al-Qaeda members and under orders of a suspected operative from that group, created a training camp where Babar taught members how to use weapons and explosives, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

One of the people trained at the camp has been charged with a suspected role in the 2005 bombings of the London buses, according to federal prosecutors.

In addition to the training, Babar provided funding to a senior al-Qaeda operative, the U.S. attorney said. In March 2004, he returned to Queens to make some more money but was arrested by federal agents in Jamaica a month later, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Babar began to talk to agents about all the information he had on the foreign terrorist activities in exchange for pleading guilty in June 2004 to federal charges, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

He testified in three trials against terrorists in England and one in Canada and was set to testify against Syed Hashmi in a trial in federal court in Manhattan before the defendant pleaded guilty to conspiracy to providing support to al-Qaeda, according to federal prosecutors.

In total, Babar testified against eight defendants who were on trial and all were found guilty, according to the U.S. attorney.

The U.S. attorney would not say whether Babar is living in the United States, but confirmed that he will continue to cooperate with the government during his decade of post-supervision.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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