Man in Ohio terror case gets 20 years in prison

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Normal Man in Ohio terror case gets 20 years in prison

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:58 pm

Man in Ohio terror case gets 20 years in prison

By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer John Seewer, Associated Press Writer – Wed Oct 21, 11:44 am ET

TOLEDO, Ohio – One of three men convicted of plotting to recruit and train terrorists to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison.

Mohammad Amawi, who had faced a maximum sentenced of life in prison, will get credit for the three years he's already spent in custody and will be under lifetime supervision when released, U.S. District Judge James Carr said.

Amawi and two other men of Middle Eastern descent met in Toledo about five years ago and began plotting and training to help insurgents in Iraq, the FBI said during their trial last year. Defense lawyers said the three were set up by an undercover FBI informant.

Carr said Wednesday that while the informant played a huge role, this wasn't a case of government entrapment. He said Amawi could have backed out but instead talked about plans to help the insurgency in Iraq and watched Jihadist videos.

Talking about killing troops isn't something that's protected by free speech, Carr said. It's not just "idle chatter or fantasy," he said.

The other men convicted, Marwan El-Hindi and Wassim Mazloum, were scheduled to be sentenced later Wednesday. They both faced up to life in prison.

Edward Bryan, an attorney for Amawi, said the judge imposed a courageous sentence given that the government was pushing for life in prison for his client. He said Amawi's interest in learning how to shoot guns and defend himself was based on a desire to protect himself and his family.

Bryan said the case against Amawi was conceived, contrived and concocted by the government.

Lawyers for all three say the defendants were manipulated by the government's star witness, Darren Griffin.

The undercover FBI informant and former Army Special Forces soldier recorded the men for about two years beginning in 2004 while they talked about training in explosives, guns, and sniper tactics. They often met in their homes and at a tiny storefront mosque where they prayed together.

Defense attorneys noted that Griffin was involved in all conversations the prosecution presented to the jury, and that there was no evidence of telephone conversations or e-mails dealing with the alleged plot among only the defendants.

Griffin said most people at the mosque shunned him and that no one raised any threats until El-Hindi began talking about kidnapping Israeli soldiers. Amawi, Griffin said, asked him to help him train two recruits from Chicago for holy war.

Griffin testified that he twice traveled to Jordan with Amawi and also taught Amawi and Mazloum how to shoot guns.

Amawi, El-Hindi and Mazloum were convicted of conspiring to kill or maim people outside the United States, including military personnel. Amawi and El-Hindi were convicted of distributing information regarding explosives to terrorists.

All three men are U.S. citizens, except Mazloum, who came to the U.S. legally from Lebanon. El-Hindi was born in Jordan. Amawi was born in the U.S. but also has Jordanian citizenship.

Defense attorneys said Griffin lied and manipulated the defendants by putting words in their mouths so that he could stay on the government payroll.

Attorneys for the men also questioned how the three men could have been involved in a conspiracy when they never practiced shooting guns together or watched training videos together.

Mazloum was a college student who helped his brother run a used-car lot. Amawi once worked at a bakery. And El-Hindi was a married father of seven.

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Only 20 years??????????? So, what happens when he gets out? Yes, he w/be on parole but that doesn't mean anything!!! This is preposterous!!

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