Jury convicts JFK airport bomb plot suspect

Reuters News
Posted: May 26, 2011 7:08 PM
Jury convicts JFK airport bomb plot suspect

By Jessica Dye

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former leader of the Shiite Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago was found guilty on Thursday of taking part in a conspiracy to bomb New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Imam Kareem Ibrahim, 65, was charged in June 2007 for his involvement in what prosecutors say was a failed plot to destroy buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport that handles more than 1,000 flights daily.

Following a four-week trial in Brooklyn federal court, a jury convicted Ibrahim on all five counts, including 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.

He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Sentencing is tentatively scheduled for October 21.

"In pursuit of a radical terrorist agenda, bent on the destruction of John F. Kennedy Airport and the murder of innocent civilians, Imam Kareem Ibrahim abandoned the true tenets of his religion," said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch.

Two others, Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, were found guilty in August for involvement in the plot and sentenced to life in prison. Defreitas has appealed his verdict.

A fourth man charged in the plot, Abdul Nur, pleaded guilty in June to one count of providing material support to a terrorist plot and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to prosecutors, Defreitas, a U.S. citizen from Guyana, formulated a plot based on his experience as a cargo handler at JFK Airport to target its fuel tanks and pipeline in an attack that would mimic the September 11, 2001 attacks.

He began recruiting others to help him, including Ibrahim, starting in 2006, prosecutors said. An attorney for Ibrahim did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.

The case is USA v. Defreitas et al, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, no. 07-00543.

(Reporting by Jessica Dye; Editing by Laura MacInnis)