Fort Dix 5 Get Life In Prison

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Principessa, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. Principessa

    Gold Member

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    5 Are Convicted of Conspiring to Attack Fort Dix
    By PAUL VON ZIELBAUER and JON HURDLE

    A federal jury on Monday convicted five men of conspiring to kill American soldiers at Fort Dix in New Jersey last year, but acquitted them of attempted murder.

    The jury deliberated for six days before returning its verdict against the defendants: three brothers — Shain, Eljvir and Dritan Duka — and Mohamad Shnewer and Serdar Tatar.

    The men, all Muslim immigrants who lived in South Jersey or Philadelphia, face a maximum term of life in prison.

    Sentencing is scheduled for April 22 for the three brothers and April 23 for Mr. Shnewer, 23, and Mr. Tatar, 25.

    During the trial in Federal District Court in Camden, N.J., federal prosecutors said the men planned to attack Fort Dix and military personnel there, and had taken concrete steps to train and arm themselves. Prosecution evidence included hundreds of secretly taped conversations between the defendants and F.B.I. informants; jihadist propaganda videos recovered from one suspect’s computer; and videotapes of an illegal purchase of several machine guns.

    The jury also convicted Dritan Duka, 30, Shain Duka, 27, and Mr. Shnewer of possessing firearms with intent to attack the base. It convicted Eljvir Duka, 25, of possessing firearms as an illegal immigrant. All three Duka brothers arrived in the United States illegally years ago, as children, from the former Yugoslavia.

    Defense lawyers argued that the men were never serious about attacking Fort Dix, and that the government informants repeatedly coaxed them into making the incendiary comments recorded on government wiretaps.

    The defense also challenged the credibility of the informants. One was an Egyptian-born illegal immigrant on probation for bank fraud who was paid more than $230,000 by the F.B.I. for his undercover work; the other was paid about $150,000.

    Prosecutors called the five men “radical Islamists” and portrayed their surveillance and prosecution of the defendants as a necessary countermove against terrorists. Ralph J. Marra, the acting United States attorney in New Jersey, rejected accusations that the defendants had been manipulated by F.B.I. informants.

    “This was not something that was trumped up by a cooperating witness,” he said at a courthouse news conference. “The verdict was based solely on the words and actions of these defendants.”

    Relatives of Mr. Shnewer and Mr. Tatar and members of their legal team charged that the defendants’ Islamic beliefs worked against them. Serpil Tatar, a sister of Mr. Tatar, called the conviction “a big lie.”

    “We came here so we could have a better life,” she said, speaking through tears to reporters at the courthouse. “But what we saw shows there’s a question about whether there’s justice.”

    Faten Shnewer, Mr. Shnewer’s mother, criticized the government for relying on well-paid informants who were well aware of the kind of information their F.B.I. handlers were seeking. “This is not justice,” she said.

    Jim Sues, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who spent several days in court listening to testimony, said that the men, though not innocent of any wrongdoing, were unjustifiably egged on by government informants into making conspiratorial statements about a terrorist attack on the base.

    “The informant was much more than the informant,” Mr. Sues said in a telephone interview on Monday. “There was definitely some laws broken, but conspiracy to attack Fort Dix is a whole different story.”

    Four of the men lived in Cherry Hill, a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia; Mr. Tatar lived in Philadelphia. They were arrested in May 2007 after one of the government’s informants secretly videotaped them paying $1,400 for seven machine guns in the informant’s apartment.

    Investigators later found videos on one defendant’s computer that showed clips of dead American soldiers and kidnapping victims about to be beheaded.

    The investigation began in January 2006, after an electronics store clerk notified the F.B.I. that one of the men had brought in a video for duplication that showed 10 young men firing assault weapons at an outdoor range and shouting “God is Great” in Arabic. Among the 10 men in the video were the three Duka brothers and Mr. Shnewer.

    The five defendants seemed to many to be far more South Jersey than seething jihadists. The Dukas are ethnic Albanians who worked in a family roofing business; Mr. Tatar, a legal immigrant from Turkey, worked as an assistant manager for a 7-Eleven in Philadelphia. Mr. Shnewer, an American citizen who was born in Jordan, was a taxi driver who also worked at a market run by his family in South Jersey.

    Evidence showed that the men regularly watched and talked about Qaeda-inspired videos and visited a rented house in the Pocono Mountains where they fired weapons in what prosecutors said was training for an attack.

    In March, Judge Robert B. Kugler, who also presided over this trial, sentenced a friend of the Duka brothers to 20 months in prison for supplying them with guns and ammunition. The friend, Agron Abdullahu, who had already served 11 months in prison when he was sentenced, was released in October, said his lawyer, Richard Coughlin.

    Jurors declined to comment about their verdict but asked Judge Kugler to read their statement saying in part, “This has been one of the most difficult things that we have ever had to do.”

    “During these last six days,” the statement went on, “we have held the fate of these five defendants in our hands, and we have not reached our conclusion lightly. The burden imposed on us has been heavy, but we are confident that our verdict has been reached fairly and impartially.”



    This is why New Jersey should have kept the death penalty. For treasonous murderers like this. :mad: Now tax dollars have to be wasted keeping them alive. :irked:
     
  2. faceking

    faceking Well-Known Member

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    we should be executing just as many lawyers as terrorists... oh wait, we don't.
     
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