Mahin Khan: Arizona Jihadist Who Plotted Terror Attacks In The U.S. Gets 8 Years In Prison

Mahin Khan, an 18-year-old man from Tucson Arizona, was sentenced to eight years in prison after he was found guilty of planning a terror attack against the United States, Yahoo News reports. Mahin Khan was arrested back in July on the eve of the U.S. Independence Day by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after an investigation conducted by a joint task force of the FBI confirmed that Khan had planned to attack several government buildings situated in Maricopa and Pima counties of Arizona. On Friday, a judge hearing the case sentenced Mahin in the presence of several friends and family members. The sentencing was based on a previous confession by him. Mahin Khan had also pleaded guilty to terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons. While initial reports about Mahin Khan’s terror plot talked about several government buildings, in his confession, Mahin admitted to have targeted a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix.

While the prosecutors had asked for a harsher, 14-year jail term for Khan considering the gravity of his intentions, his lawyers pleaded for a much shorter 7-year jail term. The prosecutors had alleged that Khan wanted to launch a major terror attack at the motor vehicle office on Mesa and had even instructed an undercover FBI agent to start building home-made grenades for the purpose – thereby highlighting the seriousness of his offense. Khan was initially accused of inspiring an insurgency in the U.S. and motivating others to carry out terror attacks on U.S. soil – that would mimic the attacks that occurred in Paris and Brussels. Khan was in regular touch with one of his handlers, reportedly in Syria who is believed to a member of the Islamic State (ISIS). Mahin Khan also had plans to attack a Jewish community center located in Tucson, as well as a military recruiting center and a fitness location.

Meanwhile, Khan’s attorney, Robert Ditsworth, asked for a shorter prison term on the basis of Khan’s previous mental history. He claimed that Khan has “struggled with mental health issues and shown poor impulse control.” He, however, added that Khan “accepts responsibility for his actions.” Apart from his attorney, several of Mahin Khan’s friends and family members also made several pleas asking for leniency from the court. Bisma Khan, one of Mahin’s cousins described khan as lost and confused child.

“He knows that the mistake he made was wrong.”

However, prosecutors alleged that in spite of Khan’s parents and relatives asking him to move away from his radical viewpoint, he had chosen to ignore them and went ahead with his plan to conduct a terror attack on U.S. soil. Prosecutor Blaine Gadow countered all defense points while adding that Khan not only being prosecuted for just his words, but also for his actions in relaying bomb-making instructions to an undercover FBI employee.

“There has to be a consequence, a price to be paid,” Gadow said.

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The Inquisitr had a few weeks after Khan’s arrest reported that he was beaten up by his fellow inmates at the Maricopa County Jail. This incident had happened just one day after his arrest after fellow inmates learned about his jihadist intentions. Mahin had back then suffered “non-life threatening injuries” as a result of the attack. Following the incident, Khan was moved to segregated housing in Lower Buckeye Jail. He was later offered to be placed in solitary confinement – an offer which he declined.

According to the FBI, they have been tracking Khan’s activities since he was 15-years-old. The FBI was also aware of the fact that Khan had spent more than 45 days in a mental institution before his arrest. During the trial, the FBI revealed that Mahin Khan had described himself as an “American jihadist” who supports the Islamic State.

[Featured Image by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office/AP Images]