The prosecutor cited one recorded June 2009 conversation between the father and his son: Hafiz Khan called for a violent attack on the Pakistani Assembly similar to the 2008 suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, which killed about 60 people and injured numerous others. Irfan Khan said nothing in response, according to the recording.
In August 2009, the father asked him whether he would be sending money to the “Sharia people,” or Taliban, and the son replied that he would do so as soon as he collected the money.
The federal prosecutor further argued against the son’s release before trial, concluding: “Hafiz Kahn was the linchpin of this network of support and financing, but Irfan Khan and his other codefendants and co-conspirators also played vital roles.”
But Irfan Khan’s lawyers challenged the prosecution’s claims that he was a flight risk and danger to the community.
The son’s defense lawyers argued that his money transfers were “nominal,” made in his name and intended for the benefit of relatives living in Pakistan. Also, they asserted that the indictment did not allege that he advocated any act of violence in the few recorded phone calls with his father.
“This is not somebody with weapons,” assistant federal public defender Sowmya Bharathi argued at Khan’s detention hearing last July. “This is not someone who has advocated violence, and this is not someone who has taken any steps to hide his identity or hide his actions.”
She added: “Since arriving in the United States in 1994, he has embodied and demonstrated himself to have a true American work ethic, striving for the betterment of himself and his family.”
Last August, Judge Jordan ordered that Irfan Khan — along with Hafiz Khan, the elderly Muslim cleric, and the other son, Izhar Khan — remain in custody until trial. Jordan said evidence against the two younger Khans was less compelling than that against their father. But the judge decided the case was still strong enough to warrant detention, ruling they were a danger to the community and flight risks.
Irfan Khan was detained in the Federal Detention Center in downtown Miami until April, when Magistrate Judge Patrick White released him on home confinement on a combined bond package totaling about $700,000. White granted the bond after prosecutors agreed to the terms proposed by Khan’s lawyers in exchange for their dropping an appeal of his detention.
His father and brother, who face trial in November, are still locked up in the Detention Center, where Irfan Khan had been held for 10 months.
“It was a gross abuse of this man’s life,” said Mohammad Shakir, a member of the Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations. “He paid a very heavy price for the U.S. government’s overzealousness in the war on terrorism.
“At the same time, I want to applaud the U.S. attorney’s office for not dragging out his prosecution.”