US court jails Dr Fai for two years
WASHINGTON: A district court in Virginia on Friday gave Kashmiri leader Ghulam Nabi Fai two-year prison sentence on charge of interfering with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and making false statements about the sources of his funding for his lobbying effort in support of the Kashmir cause.
The prosecution had sought four years in prison for Dr Fai, 63, an American citizen who was executive director of Washington-based Kashmiri-American Council (KAC). The KAC described itself as a non-profit organisation run by Kashmiris and funded by Americans. Prosecutors said Fai tried to draw the attention of US officials to India’s actions in the disputed territory of Kashmir and away from Pakistan’s own actions in the divided mountain area. The two nations have fought two wars over it. Fai’s lawyer, Nina Ginsberg, called the sentence “unnecessarily harsh”.
But Dr Fai, in his plea bargain arrangement, had waived his right to appeal. After completing his sentence, Dr Fai will remain under court supervision for three years. Pronouncing the judgement, Judge Liam O’Grady said it was necessary to uphold the rule. At the same time, the judge praised Dr Fai’s life-long commitment to the cause of Kashmir. While in incarceration, he said, Dr Fai could make his contribution to the Kashmir cause with his writings, and that the KAC could continue to operate. agencies