PITTSBURGH (AP) – A convicted felon who prosecutors have said sympathized with the Taliban has been sentenced to nearly eight years in prison for using his friend’s gun at a Pittsburgh-area firing range.

Thirty-five-year-old Khalifa Ali Al-Akili, of Wilkinsburg, argued that he’s a devout Muslim who has not been in trouble since 2007, despite a lengthy criminal record dating to his teens that prohibits him from possessing firearms.

Al-Akili was sentenced to seven years, 10 months in prison Thursday by a federal judge in Pittsburgh after pleading guilty in November to using the gun at the range in Trafford in July 2010.

At the time of his arrest last March, prosecutors argued Al-Akili was a Taliban supporter, though most documents relating to that aspect of the case remain under seal.

Al-Akili’s convictions came under the name James Marvin Thomas Jr.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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