A California man was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for attending an al-Qaida terrorist training camp in Pakistan and plotting to attack targets in the United States.
Hamid Hayat, a US citizen who turned 25 on Monday, was convicted in April 2006 of providing material support to terrorists and lying about it to FBI agents. Prosecutors said he intended to attack hospitals, banks, grocery stores and government buildings in California.
Federal Judge Garland Burrell Jr. said Hayat had "returned to the United States ready and willing to wage violent jihad when directed to do so."
Burrell said he was skeptical that Hayat would ever renounce violence and his crimes deserved the toughest punishment, but he cited Hayat's lack of a previous criminal record and other factors in handing down a lesser sentence - about halfway between what prosecutors and defense attorneys had argued for. The defense had sought a sentence of 15 years.