Aviation News

January 14, 2011

Guyana Man Sentenced to 15 Years For JFK Airport Terror Plot

A Guyana national in the United States was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday for his participation in a terror plot against John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) airport, prosecutors said.

JFK airport control tower terminals

(Photo by Lukasz Wasiak)

Abdel Nur pleaded guilty on June 29, 2010, for providing material support to the conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack at JFK Airport in New York by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline underneath the airport.

Nur was part of a four-man group that conspired to commit terrorism in the United States. Abdul Kadir was sentenced last month to life in prison while Russell Defreitas was also sentenced in July. The other suspect, Kareem Ibrahim, is still on trial.

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 of working at the airport as a cargo handler.

During multiple trips to Guyana and Trinidad in 2006 and 2007, Defreitas met Nur who introduced him to Kadir and Ibrahim and recruited them. Between these trips, Defreitas is believed to have engaged in video surveillance of JFK airport and transported the footage back to Guyana to show his 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.

Nur provided material support to the plot by attempting to locate al Qaeda explosives expert Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah. In addition, he presented the plot to Yasin Abu Bakr, the notorious leader of the Trinidadian militant group Jamaat Al Muslimeen.

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.

Prosecutors said that Nur believed that the attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to the New York economy, as well as the loss of numerous lives.