NY conviction of Afghan tribal leader upheld

May 23, 2011 - 11:15 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the drug conviction of a once-powerful Afghan tribal leader who claimed he was tricked into coming to the United States and then arrested.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Bashir Noorzai (Buh-SHEER NOAR-zigh) was properly advised of his rights during 10 days of questioning by the FBI in a Manhattan hotel prior to his 2005 arrest.

Noorzai was convicted in April 2009 of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States and to distribute it. He is serving a life sentence.

Prosecutors say Noorzai complied with a request by Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar to supply 400 of his fighters in 2001 to fight the Northern Alliance after the U.S. began operations in Afghanistan.

Defense lawyer Alan Seidler said he'll appeal.