Seattle man who conspired to aid Taliban gets added prison term
Seattle Times staff reporter
James Ujaama, the Seattle man who pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiring to aid the Taliban, was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for violating the terms of his supervised release.
"I'm sorry we're all here today under these circumstances," U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein told Ujaama. "You violated the trust I put in you."
Ujaama, 41, admitted to violating conditions of his supervised release after serving two years in prison for conspiring to help the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He acknowledged that he made a false statement to his parole officer Dec. 2, that he failed to follow instructions from a federal officer Dec. 3, that he possessed a Mexican passport in the name "Jose Luis Ramirez Ramirez" and that he left the U.S. without permission Dec. 5.
Ujaama was arrested outside a mosque in Belize on Dec. 18 after a scuffle with police.
"I'm very, very sorry," Ujaama told Rothstein.
Ujaama's lawyer, Peter Offenbecher, told the court that Ujaama "alone is the person who made the bad choices, and he will accept the consequences."
Under the terms of the plea agreement Ujaama negotiated with the government in 2003, the agreement would be null and void if he violated the terms of his release, and he could face additional charges, said Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington.
Specifically, Ujaama now could face charges alleging he conspired to help al-Qaida by attempting to set up a terrorism training camp in Bly, Ore., and that he conspired to kill Americans abroad.
Ujaama pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiring to aid the outlaw Taliban government in the late 1990s. He agreed to testify against several high-profile alleged terrorism supporters, including the fiery London cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and at least two of al-Masri's alleged henchmen, Oussama Kassir and Haroon Rashid Aswat.
Aswat has been questioned for the July 7, 2005, London subway and bus bombings that left 56 dead. All three men have been indicted in the U.S. in connection with the Bly training-camp plot, and Ujaama is considered a crucial witness in those cases.
Ujaama is being held at the federal detention center in SeaTac. The Bureau of Prisons will determine where he will serve his sentence.
David Bowermaster: 206-464-2724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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