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07/03/2014

Brooklyn man convicted of conspiracy to commit honor killings in Pakistan

NEW YORK — A Brooklyn man was convicted today of conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country, transmitting threats via interstate communications and immigration fraud. The conviction stems from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Mohammad Ajmal Choudhry, 61, orchestrated the murders of family members of a man who helped his daughter escape from Pakistan to the U.S.

The evidence at trial established that the defendant's daughter, Amina Ajmal, was held against her will in Pakistan for more than three years by relatives at her father's direction. During that time, Ajmal, a U.S. citizen, was forced into an arranged marriage with a Pakistani national. Ajmal eventually escaped Pakistan and returned to the United States with the assistance of a Pakistani man and U.S. State Department officials. During subsequent recorded telephone calls between Ajmal and the defendant, the defendant threatened to orchestrate the murder of the man who helped Ajmal flee if Ajmal, whose whereabouts remained unknown to the defendant, did not return immediately to the family home in Brooklyn. On Feb. 25, 2013, after Ajmal refused to return home, the father and sister of the man who helped Ajmal flee were shot and killed in Pakistan. According to eyewitnesses, the defendant's brother and other relatives were observed standing over the victims holding guns and desecrating the bodies.

At sentencing, the defendant faces up to life imprisonment.