Kashmiri separatist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai was on Friday sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a court in Virginia, USA, for "conspiracy to defraud the US" by concealing that he received at least $3.5 million from Pakistan's spy and terrorism agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to fund lobbying efforts on Kashmir.
After being cornered by the judge, the 62-year-old Fai waxed defiant, saying he was fighting for an independent Kashmir and not for a state controlled by Pakistan. However, he was unable to answer why in that case he was being funded by the ISI.
When his 24-month of jail term is over, he will be on 'supervised release' or parole; which means his movements would continue to be closely tracked. The judge also asked Fai not to contact US officials or agents of the government of Pakistan and ISI.
However, Fai won't be jailed immediately. Represented by Nina Ginsberg, he requested the court to allow him to surrender after graduation of his daughter on 25 June, a plea which the judge granted.
Fai, a resident of Fairfax, Va, was a longtime executive director of the Washington-based Kashmiri American Council, parading as an independent lobbyist. But last year he pleaded guilty to using a network of straw donors to hide the fact that the ISI had provided him with $3.5 million in funding over a two-decade career of Kashmiri advocacy.
''You participated in a conspiracy to defraud the US and completely deceive the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). ''You knew Pakistan and the ISI was paying you in a manner because your actions would be consistent with theirs and you would represent their voice and you were willing to do so," Judge Liam O'Grady of a court in Alexandria, Va, a suburb of Washington DC, said before announcing the verdict.