It was just a weekend shooting trip. Yeah, sure, that’s it. A weekend shooting trip. By Cindy George in the Houston Chronicle, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Shiraz Syed Qazi, 26, one of four Muslim men charged in the so-called Houston Taliban case, was sentenced today to 10 months in prison.
The men were arrested in November and accused of training to join the Taliban’s fight against U.S.-led forces overseas.
Qazi was convicted in January of unlawful possession of a firearm. He waived his right to a jury trial, opting for a decision from U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal. She found him guilty in 15 minutes.
A July 2005 camping trip in Willis, north of Conroe, was part of a government set-up using two informants to nab men who talked of fighting with the terrorist group. FBI agents used Qazi’s acknowledgment that “he overheard statements over that weekend” to connect him to the plot.
Qazi, a Pakistani, appears in photographs with a semi-automatic weapon. At the time, he was attending Houston Community College on a student visa.
While prosecutors contend that federal law prohibits someone who is not a U.S. citizen from possessing a firearm, federal public defender Brent Newton argued that his client was not criminally liable because he didn’t know he could not hold or shoot a gun.
Qazi’s supporters say he simply went on a weekend shooting trip, which is common recreation in Texas.