Put em away for life…
Justice served. Even though they were acquitted of attempted murder. The Conspiracy charge will put them away for life.
CAMDEN, N.J. — Five Muslim immigrants were convicted Monday of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in a case that tested the FBI’s post-Sept. 11 strategy of infiltrating and breaking up terrorist conspiracies in their earliest stages.
The men could get life in prison when they are sentenced in April.
The five, who lived in and around Philadelphia for years, were found guilty of conspiring to kill U.S. military personnel. But they were acquitted of attempted murder, after prosecutors acknowledged the men were probably months away from an attack and did not necessarily have a specific plan. Four defendants were also convicted of weapons charges.
The federal jury deliberated for 38 hours over six days.
The government said after the arrests in 2007 that case underscored the dangers of terrorist plots hatched on U.S. soil. Although investigators said the conspirators were inspired by Usama bin Laden, they were not accused of any ties to foreign terror groups.
Defense lawyers argued that the alleged plot was all talk — that the men weren’t seriously planning anything and that they were manipulated and goaded by two paid FBI informants.
Faten Shnewer, the mother of defendant Mohamad Shnewer, said the informants should be the ones in jail. “Not my son and his friends. It’s not right, it’s not justice,” she said after the verdict. The government “sent somebody to push him to say something; that’s it.”
Convicted were: Shnewer, a Jordanian-born cab driver; Turkish-born convenience store clerk Serdar Tatar; and brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, who had a roofing business. A sixth man arrested and charged only with gun offenses pleaded guilty earlier.
“These criminals had the capacity and had done preparations to do serious and grievous harm to members of our military,” Ralph Marra, the acting U.S. attorney for New Jersey, said after the verdict.
But some Muslim leaders in New Jersey disputed that.
“I don’t think they actually mean to do anything,” said Mohamed Younes, president of the American Muslim Union. “I think they were acting stupid, like they thought the whole thing was a joke.”
Jim Sues, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: “Many people in the Muslim community will see this as a case of entrapment. From what I saw, there was a significant role played by the government informant.”
The yearlong investigation began after a clerk at a Circuit City store told the FBI that some customers had asked him to transfer onto DVD some video footage of them firing assault weapons and screaming about jihad.