The lawyer representing the families of the dead and survivors, Clifford Tibber, said they would be devastated to learn that Babar had served only a small proportion of his possible sentence. Tibber said: "Babar admitted setting up and funding training camps attended by the 7/7 bombers. When the British government released Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber who received a life sentence, on compassionate grounds after eight years the Americans were furious. Imagine how the bereaved and the survivors will feel about (Babar's) paltry sentence."
A remark from the sentencing judge that Babar "began co-operating even before his arrest", has raised the possibility, supported by other circumstantial evidence obtained by the Guardian, that he may have been an informant for the US government before his detention by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 2004.
The report said that Babar facilitated the London bombers' knowledge of bomb-making when he invited around a dozen British jihadists to attend a camp that he had helped set up in north-west Pakistan in the summer of 2003. After his guilty plea in 2004, Babar spent a good proportion of his four and a half years outside the regular prison system, and flew to testify in trials in the UK and in Canada and met law enforcement officers from around the world, the report said.
It added that although a probation report dated July 9, 2010 recommended that Babar remain in jail for another 30 years, the US attorney's office submitted their own report to the New York court, known as a 5K1, which praised Babar's work. One extract read out in court stated: "Over the last six and a half years the level of assistance provided by Babar to both the United States government and foreign governments has been more than substantial. It has been extraordinary."
Babar's defence lawyer, Daniel Ollen, told the court that during the two years his client had been out on bail, he had "paid his debt to society" and had settled into a new life with his wife and daughter. Speaking for the first time about the case, Ollen told the Guardian that in court "the government went to bat for him. They used words like 'extraordinary' and 'unprecedented'. Babar's co-operation really was spectacular when you get down to it."
When sentencing Babar, the judge, Victor Marrero, praised his work, describing the sentence of four years and eight months as "reasonable and appropriate". "The court takes note that the government has evaluated Mr Babar's cooperation to be significant, truthful, complete, and liable," Marrero said. "(He) worked with the FBI and foreign governments to assist in investigations of terrorism organisations, including al-Qaida, and of terrorist activities such as the London bomb plot."
"Taking into account the nature and circumstances of the offence and the history and characteristics of the defendant... the court finds that a sentence of time served is reasonable and appropriate and that such a term is sufficient but not greater than necessary to promote the proper objectives of sentencing," Marrero said.