Aviation News

December 16, 2010

JFK Airport Terror Attack Plotter Sentenced to Life in Prison

Terror suspect Abdul Kadir was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for conspiring to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, prosecutors said.

JFK airport control tower terminals

(Photo by Lukasz Wasiak)

Kadir, 58, was convicted in July following a nine-week trial in which he and his co-conspirators were accused of planning to attack JFK Airport by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport, which they believed would cause extensive damage, many casualties and financially hurt the city.

Co-conspirator Russell Defreitas was also convicted in July. The third suspect, Abdel Nur, pleaded guilty before trial to supporting the terror 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, but has not been convicted.

Prosecutors showed during the trial that Defreitas, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, came up with 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 these trips, Defreitas is believed to have 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 sentence imposed on Abdul Kadir sends a powerful and clear message,” said U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch. “We will bring to justice those who plot to attack the United States of America.”

Kadir was convicted of 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.

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