nationalsecuritylaw United States v. Kadir (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2010)

December 16, 2010

* United States v. Kadir (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 15, 2010)

A life sentence yesterday for Abdul Kadir in connection with the plot targeting JFK airport. Recall that Kadir was convicted by a jury last summer, after a lengthy trial, of conspiring to carry out an attack on the airport involving fuel tanks and pipelines. Details from the DOJ press release follow:

BROOKLYN, NY – Earlier today, in the Eastern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Dora L. Irizarry sentenced Abdul Kadir to life in prison for conspiring to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, N.Y., by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport. Kadir and his co-conspirators believed their attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to the New York economy, as well as the loss of numerous lives.

A federal jury convicted Kadir and co-conspirator Russell Defreitas in July 2010, after a nine-week trial. A third defendant, Abdel Nur, pleaded guilty before trial to supporting the plot and faces a sentence of up to 15 years. A fourth member of the plot, Kareem Ibrahim, faces trial on the same charges as Defreitas and Kadir.

The evidence at trial established that Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, originated the idea to attack JFK Airport and its fuel tanks and pipelines by drawing on his prior experience working at the airport as a cargo handler. During multiple trips to Guyana and Trinidad in 2006 and 2007, Defreitas recruited Kadir and others to join the plot. Between trips, Defreitas engaged in video surveillance of JFK Airport and transported the footage back to Guyana to show Kadir and their co-conspirators. Kadir, a trained engineer with connections to militant groups in Iran and Venezuela, provided the conspirators with links to individuals with terrorist experience, advice on explosive materials, and a bank account through which to finance the terrorist attack. The members of the plot attempted to enlist support from prominent international terrorist groups and leaders, as well as the government of Iran, including Abu Bakr, leader of the Trinidadian militant group Jamaat Al Muslimeen, and Adnan El Shukrijumah, an al-Qaeda leader.

At trial, Kadir, a former member of the Guyanese parliament, admitted that he regularly passed information to Iranian authorities about sensitive topics, including the Guyanese military, and believed himself bound to follow fatwas from Iranian religious leaders. On June 2, 2007, Kadir was arrested in Trinidad aboard a plane headed to Venezuela, en route to Iran. He was subsequently extradited to the United States.

The specific charges Kadir was convicted of were: conspiracy to attack a public transportation system, conspiracy to destroy a building by fire or explosive, conspiracy to attack aircraft and aircraft materials, conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities and conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility.