[Ppnews] 4 life terms, 1 33-year sentence in Fort Dix case
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 29 16:36:39 EDT 2009
4 life terms, 1 33-year sentence in Fort Dix case
The following website has good general info on
the case: http://www.projectsalam.org/fortdix5.html
By GEOFF MULVIHILL 17 minutes ago
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) A man who was the "epicenter
of the conspiracy" to kill military personnel was
sentenced to life in prison and a fellow plotter
was sentenced to 33 years as a judge on Wednesday
finished sentencing five Muslim immigrants who
contemplated an attack on Fort Dix.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler had
sentenced the three others involved in the plot to at least life in prison.
Overall, Kugler seemed to accept the position of
prosecutors that the plot was one of the most
frightening homegrown terrorism plots ever hatched in the U.S.
Under federal law, none of the four men given
life sentences will be eligible for parole. With
each of the four, Kugler cited their actions in
the plot, their run-ins with the law either
before the investigation began or in the federal
detention center in Philadelphia and what he
called their radical Islamist ideology.
On Wednesday, Mohamad Shnewer, a 24-year-old U.S.
citizen born in Jordan, received a sentence of
life plus 30 years. Kugler said the sentence
reflected his position as "the epicenter of the
conspiracy" by frequently suggesting ways to kill
military personnel. The judge dismissed the young
man's contention that he was talking about
violence only because Mahmoud Omar, an FBI informant, pushed him into it.
"I might have spoken like a jihadist," said
Shnewer, a former Cherry Hill resident who drove
a cab and worked in his family's food market.
"But I don't have what it takes to be a jihadist."
Like the families of the other men, relatives of
Serdar Tatar spoke in court, describing the
Turkish-born 25-year-old as a loving man who
helped his stepson with homework. They said he
was not interested in violence and cried about
the shootings at Virginia Tech two years ago.
"I believe that everything that's going on is
happening in some horrible dream," said his wife,
Halide Mirayeva, as she spoke on the couple's third wedding anniversary.
Unlike the other men, who wore stoic expressions
or even smiled during the sentencing proceedings,
Tatar was sullen. He cried as his family spoke.
Tatar, a former restaurant worker and 7-Eleven
clerk who lived in Philadelphia, spoke in court
for about 40 minutes. Much of his talk was
devoted to giving his side of a bizarre incident
in the investigation when he went to
Philadelphia police, then the FBI, to report that
someone had asked him for a map of Fort Dix.
At the time, his father owned a pizza shop near
the central New Jersey Army installation, used
primarily to train reservists for deployments in
Iraq. Prosecutors say the men were focusing on
the fort as a target because of Tatar's knowledge of the base.
In the trial, government prosecutors portrayed
Tatar's approaching authorities as a savvy effort
to smoke out Omar as an FBI informant.
Tatar said he was honestly trying to report possible criminal activity.
"I thought I was doing the right thing," he said.
"And I ended up screwing it up for everyone." His
mistake, he said, was lying and telling
investigators that he had not handed over the map when in fact he had.
After hearing from Tatar, Kugler
uncharacteristically called for a five-minute
break, building drama before he announced his sentence.
Kugler said he hardly slept the previous night as
he agonized over how to sentence Tatar. He settled on a 33-year term.
He said he didn't believe that Tatar was trying
to do right by going to authorities, but "I am
simply not convinced that he was driven by any ideology or religious fervor"
"He's the only one of the defendants I believe
has any hope of rehabilitation with a prison sentence," Kugler said.
After the sentencing, Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph
J. Marra Jr. said, "Mr. Tatar strikes me as
somewhat of a follower-type person."
Lawyers for all five men say they expect to appeal the sentences.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews