Ex-Intel engineer jailed for trying to aid the Taliban

Hawash sent down for seven years

A former Intel engineer who was caught attempting to get into Afghanistan after the US-led invasion was finally sentenced to seven years in jail this week.

At his trial last August, Mayer "Mike" Mofeid Hawash, 38, pleaded guilty to travelling to Afghanistan with the intention of aiding the Taliban.

However, he did not accept two other charges: that he conspired to "levy war against the United States" and that he conspired to "provide material support and resources to Al-Qaida".

Hawash was caught with five others in 2001 after they were denied visas to cross Pakistan in order to enter Afghanistan. However, he was not arrested until March 2003, and not charged until April that year.

Following his guilty plea, Hawash had to wait until his five fellow defendants were brought to trial. That process over, he was back in court in Portland, Oregon on Monday to hear his sentence.

US District Court Judge Robert Jones sentenced Hawash to seven years in prison, the minimum term for the charge to which he had pleaded guilty. Judge Jones also sentenced fellow defendants Ahmed Bilal and Muhammad Bilal to ten years and eight years, respectively.

Hawash's guilty plea also invokes a $250,000 fine.

Hawash was born in 1964 as a Jordanian but later became a naturalised US citizen. At Intel, he was lead software engineer on the company's MMX design efforts.

Hawash lived in Hillsboro, Oregon, with his wife and three children. ®

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