JFK terror plot…
One of the four accused in an alleged terror plot targeting a popular landmark in the United States yesterday pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn Federal Court.
Guyanese Abdel Nur, who appeared before Judge Dora Irizarry, pleaded guilty to providing material support to the John F. Kennedy Airport bombing conspiracy
Nur, who also goes by the name “Compton Eversley,” accepted the lesser charge in exchange for the government dropping the original charge of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. He now faces a possible 15-year sentence under the plea deal approved by prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Under the original indictment, Nur faced up to life in prison if convicted at a trial.
Reading from a prepared statement, Nur told the court that between November 2006 and June 2007 he became aware that individuals, whom he had known for quite some time, were developing a plan that had the goal of destroying fuel tanks and pipelines at the John F. Kennedy International Airport with the intention of causing major economic damage and loss in the United States. These plans were discussed both in Guyana and Trinidad by Nur and his co-conspirators.
Nur said he agreed to support the planners by assisting them during a trip to Trinidad and providing protection, introductions and guidance in the terror plot.
In accepting the plea, Judge Irizarry set November 18 as the date Nur will know how long he will be jailed for, after a September 28 pre-sentencing hearing.
Defence Counsel, Guyana-born Doric Sam who along with Daniel Nobel represented Nur, said the government made the plea offer last week and Nur decided to accept the deal rather than face life behind bars if convicted at trial. He added that Nur pleaded guilty because he was guilty, even though his role in the plot was described as minor.
Testifying against his co-defendants as a government witness was not part of the plea agreement. Sam said Nur listened to the wiretaps and conversations recorded by a government informant and came to the decision that with a plea deal there was some hope of life after prison.
Those recorded conversations were among the key pieces of evidence that the prosecution was expected to present and represents almost two years of surveillance.
Sam was high in praise for the Albouystown community from which Nur hails, saying that despite the stigma attached to the terrorism charges, the residents of the area were helpful in providing background information on the defendant and attesting to his character.
Nur’s other defence attorney Daniel Nobel told the media that Nur lived ‘a simple life’ that the ordinary American might find as less than adequate and one that was “hand-to-mouth.”
He told the media that his client was a good amateur boxer in his younger days and pointed out that Nur is the uncle of Guyana’s first World Boxing Champion Andrew ‘Six Head’ Lewis. Nobel added that even though his client was guilty of providing material support, he was not a threat to the United States.
Meanwhile, two of the other three defendants in the case, Guyanese Abdul Kadir and Russell De Freitas go on trial today after four weeks of jury selection.
The third defendant in the case, Trinidadian Kareem Ibraheem, is reportedly mentally ill following the prolonged period of incarceration in solitary confinement accused terrorists are usually held in.
The US Government is contending that in connection with the plot, the defendants performed physical surveillance, made video recordings of JFK Airport and its buildings and facilities, located satellite images of JFK Airport and its buildings and facilities on the internet, and sought expert advice, financing and explosives.
On or about June 1, 2007, warrants were issued in the Eastern District of New York for the arrests of Kadir, DeFreitas, Ibrahim and Nur.
DeFreitas was arrested in New York pursuant to an extradition treaty between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.
The United States requested that the government of Trinidad and Tobago execute provisional arrest warrants against defendants Kadir, Ibrahim and Nur, all of whom were present in Trinidad and Tobago on June 1, 2007.
Trinidadian law enforcement officials arrested Kadir on June 1, 2007 at Piarco International Airport, as he was attempting to travel through Venezuela to Iran.
On or about June 3, and June 10, 2007, Guyanese police obtained and executed two warrants to search Kadir’s residence in Linden, Guyana.
DeFreitas is a naturalised United States citizen, but was born in Guyana and maintained a residence there.
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