Kareem Ibrahim, an imam from Trinidad, was the last defendant to be convicted of participating in a failed plot to blow up New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport; today, he was sentenced to life in prison. Bloomberg reports:
Kareem Ibrahim, 66, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry in Brooklyn, New York. A jury convicted him in May. Prosecutors accused Ibrahim, a leader of the Shiite Muslim community in Trinidad and Tobago, of joining the plan in May 2007 and persuading the plotters to seek financial and logistical assistance from Iran. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he agreed to enter this plot,” the judge said today. “No one can doubt the seriousness of the offense here.”
The attacks, hatched by Russell Defreitas, a former cargo worker at the airport, were designed to blow up fuel lines and tanks and, ultimately, “the whole of Kennedy,” Defreitas said in a recorded conversation. Three men, including Defreitas, were previously sentenced in the case. “I fundamentally disagree with the sentence that’s been imposed and we will appeal,” Zoe Dolan, one of Ibrahim’s lawyers, said after the hearing. Ibrahim had asked for a sentence of 11 years and three months. He didn’t speak at the hearing.
[. . .] “Kareem Ibrahim abandoned the true tenets of his religion and plotted to commit a terrorist attack that he hoped would rival 9/11,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Our courts have dispensed justice by handing out the life sentence that Ibrahim deserves.” The JFK plot was foiled in its planning stages with the aid of a government informant who infiltrated the group and recorded its conversations.
Defreitas, 68, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana, and Abdul Kadir, 60, a former member of Guyana’s parliament, were sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted them in August 2010. Abdel Nur, 61, a Guyanese citizen who pleaded guilty on the eve of the 2010 trial, was sentenced to 15 years. The informant, Steven Francis, testified at both trials.
Ibrahim, who was slated to be tried with the others, was granted a separate proceeding due to a medical condition. “I just went along and hoped it would fizzle out,” Ibrahim testified at his trial last year. “It wasn’t my intention to further the plot.”
[. . .] Ibrahim convinced the JFK plotters to approach revolutionary leaders in Iran instead of using Jamaat Al Muslimeen, a group that staged a 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad that resulted in two dozen deaths, because its leader had recently been criminally charged in Trinidad, according to prosecutors.
They also tried to reach Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, who is wanted in connection with possible terrorist threats against the U.S. and is a member of al-Qaeda, the Muslim terrorist group formerly led by Osama bin Laden, according to the government. In court papers, Ibrahim’s lawyers denied their client even had the ability to steer the plot to the Iranians. Kadir, who was a friend of Ibrahim, was arrested on a plane en route to Iran.
[Many thanks to Rod Fusco for bringing this item to our attention.]