Judge Ends Case Against Pakistani-American Clan

A federal judge Wednesday declared the end of the government’s
four-year case against a Denver

Pakistani-American family once targeted by the FBI as terrorists.

Family members whose lives were turned upside down simply wept.

“We’ve lost everything,” longtime Colorado restaurateur Abdul
Qayyum said.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock accepted plea deals with
federal prosecutors who dropped and reduced immigration charges
they pursued after their terrorism case fizzled against Qayyum, his
daughter Saima Saima, wife Chris Warren and nephew Irfan Kamran.

Now only Haroon Rashid, Saima’s husband, is jailed. Federal
prosecutors dropped all charges against him too. But Rashid, jailed
for more than two years, faces deportation after a misdemeanor
assault on a gang member who hassled his family.

A federal appeals court on Nov. 20 temporarily blocked Rashid’s
deportation pending an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

FBI agents targeted this family of naturalized U.S. citizens from

Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands based on secret evidence after
the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then-U.S. Attorney General
John Ashcroft trumpeted the case as aggressive action against

“When the attorney general of the United States declares your
family terrorists,” the result is damage “far beyond anything
this court can do,” defense attorney Ray Moore told Babcock during
one of two emotional hearings Wednesday.

The family suffered financially as their restaurant in Castle Rock
closed. Children faced teasing; mothers grew depressed.

Babcock acknowledged that the long, hard case was trying on
everyone involved. “Sometimes these things take too long. … This
is one of those cases where it just took time to get it right.”

The immigration charges FBI agents pursued, after allegations of
links to al-Qaeda evaporated in 2004, involved statements family
members made about a relative to get him a visa to enter the U.S.
In multiple plea deals made final Wednesday, Qayyum pleaded guilty
to one charge of making a false statement to a federal agent. He
received a sentence of one year’s probation.

Kamran, a father of four, pleaded guilty to a petty offense after
prosecutors dropped two felony charges. All charges against Warren
and Saima were dropped.

“The most important thing that hurt me emotionally was when they
pointed guns at my kid and he was shivering” during a raid, Kamran
said. “(Yet) I still haven’t changed my mind about this country,”
he said. “I’m still positive. There are still a lot of people with
good values.”

Federal prosecutors defended their actions.

“I don’t know if there was any excess in this case. It was done
just like any other case would be,” Assistant U.S. Attorney David
Gaouette said.

Now defense attorneys say they’re trying to make sure family
members’ names aren’t on federal terrorist watch lists.