CaribWorldNews, BROOKLYN, NY, Tues. Aug. 3, 2010: Two Guyanese men could spend the rest of their lives in jail after a jury convicted them on Monday of a New York terror plot.
The federal jury returned a guilty verdict after five days of deliberation in the case of Russell M. Defreitas and Abdul Kadir. The two were found guilty of conspiring to attack the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York by blowing up fuel lines. Both men showed no emotion as the decision was read.
Both were convicted on five counts of conspiring to commit acts of terrorism while Defreitas was also convicted of surveillance of an airport. Kadir was, however, acquitted of that charge. They are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15. Their lawyers said they planned to appeal.
A lawyer for Kadir said he was disappointed but not surprised by the verdict, because the case played on concerns about Muslims and terrorism that are particularly resonant in New York.
`There was more than just the evidence Mr. Kadir was up against,` the lawyer, Kafahni Nkrumah, said. `There was the atmosphere of fear in the country.`
The trial of the two began on June 30th with prosecutors using Steven Francis, a convicted drug dealer turned government witness, to tell the jury of the plot hatched by Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen.
The government also played recorded conversations between the men at the airport during surveillance missions and on international trips to secure financial and logistical support for the attack for the jury.
While the plot never advanced beyond the conceptual stage, and the planning sessions, federal prosecutors portrayed Defreitas, 67, as a `homegrown extremist` who conceived and drove the plot.
Kadir, 58, a prominent Guyanese politician who served in Parliament and as mayor of a Linden in Guyana, initially emerged as a secondary figure, one of several conspirators portrayed as facilitating the plot by providing advice and contacts. But in testifying in his own defense, he opened himself to questions about whether he had spied for Iran.
Abdel Nur and Donald Nero, have pleaded guilty to participating in the plot. Another man, Kareem Ibrahim, is awaiting trial.