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Court approves terrorist label

Saturday, February 11, 2017
Three convicted of JFK bomb plot
Frank Seepersad

The Office of the Attorney General has successfully renewed court orders deeming as terrorists three men convicted in the United States for conspiring to commit a terrorist attack at John F Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, in 2007.

High Court Judge Frank Seepersad granted the orders on Thursday after receiving applications from the Office of the Attorney General, which is required to carry out the procedure every six months under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005.

The procedure, which freezes the local assets of anyone deemed a terrorist, is merely a formality as the AG’s Office did not identify any assets belonging to T&T national Abdel Nur, former member of parliament in Guyana Abdul Kadir and US naturalised Guyanese national Russell DeFreitas, to be frozen.

Under the legislation, the AG’s Office is required to publish Seepersad’s order in the Gazette and in two daily newspapers, within seven days. It is also to be served on the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Copies of the orders are also to be transported by international courier to the US Department of Justice so that they can be served on the three men at the prisons where they are serving their sentences.

Nur, Kadir, DeFreitas and Trinidadian Kareem Ibrahim were accused of being part of a plot to blow up fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport.

The evidence in the trial established that Ibrahim, an imam and leader of the Shiite Muslim community in T&T, provided religious instructions and operational support to a group plotting to commit a terrorist attack at JFK Airport. Ibrahim and his co-conspirators believed their attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to the New York economy, as well as the loss of numerous lives.

The group was arrested in Trinidad in June 2007 and were eventually extradited to the US to face trial.

After a nine-week trial in 2010, DeFreitas and Kadir were convicted of terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison. Ibrahim was convicted on May 26, 2011, while Nur pleaded guilty before trial to a charge of supporting the plot and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In January last year, Ibrahim, 70, died in prison after serving a little over three years of his life sentence at the US Medical Centre for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.

A similar order was obtained against him prior to his death.