SAN FRANCISCO, June 18: Two Pakistani Americans, father and son, were indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that they lied to the FBI investigating links to terrorist camps in Pakistan connected to Al Qaeda. However, Hamid Hayat, 22, and his father Umer Hayat, 47, were not charged with terrorism. Hamid Hayat is charged with two counts of making a false statement to FBI agents, and Umer Hayat is charged with one count of making a false statement to FBI agents.
The indictment says Hamid Hayat was lying when he denied being with any type of terrorist organization and denied attending any type of terrorist training camp. In an affidavit, the FBI said Hamid Hayat attended a terror camp for about six months before returning to the US intending to wage attacks.
The indictment says his father Umer Hayat was lying when he denied having any first-hand knowledge of terrorist training camps in Pakistan.
Hamid Hayat’s lawyer, Wazhma Mojaddidi said she was not surprised by the indictments, but said her client was innocent. In a statement, Wazhma Mojaddidi said: “My client is not a terrorist. He does not associate with any terrorist organizations or support any terrorist activities, and he has most definitely never attended a terrorist training camp.”
Umer Hayat’s attorney, Johnny Griffin III, echoed her statements and said the allegations in the indictments would only create more panic and sensation in Muslim community.
“If the FBI had any credible evidence that Umer Hayat had actually visited terrorist training camps in Pakistan, and that his son actually attended one or more jihadi training camps, such evidence would have been presented to the grand jury and terrorist-related charges would have been returned in the indictment,” Mr Griffin said in a written statement.
On Thursday, two civil right groups held a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento and said they would file complaints with the FBI and US Attorney’s Office that Muslims were being harassed.