Home > Court, Crime and Security, Diaspora News, Foreign Relations > JFK Terror Suspect Says He Doesn’t Believe in ‘Jihad’

JFK Terror Suspect Says He Doesn’t Believe in ‘Jihad’

(Updates with testimony starting in the fifth paragraph.)

NEW YORK/GUYANA (Bloomberg) -A former member of Guyana’s parliament accused of plotting to blow up New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport testified he doesn’t believe in “jihad” in the sense of fighting.

“I do not subscribe to fighting because I have no need to fight,” Abdul Kadir told jurors today at his terrorism trial in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Prosecutors on July 15 showed the jury photos of Kadir brandishing what appear to be weapons, including assault rifles. The pictures were found on an electronic flash drive when Kadir was arrested in June 2007 on a plane in Trinidad on his way to Iran. Kadir said one of the guns was his personal weapon and the others were toys.

Kadir and Russell Defreitas, a former Evergreen Airlines cargo worker, are charged with hatching the plot in January 2006. They circulated their plan to an international network of Muslim extremists, prosecutors alleged.

Kadir denied the government’s contention that he was bringing the photographs to Iran as part of a plan to get support there for the JFK plot.

He said the photos, which included pictures of his children with the gun and what he said were toys, were on the flash drive that backed up his computer data. He would never show the photos to the Iranians because he was shirtless in them and not subscribing to Muslim dress.

“It would be most inappropriate to take pictures like that to Iran,” he testified. “Me being without a shirt does not gel and my daughter was not fully covered as a Muslim woman.”

Pictures of Children

He said they took the pictures because it was around Christmastime “and the kids had all of these toys around,” he said. “We just decided to pose for some pictures.”

Kadir testified that he was going to Iran to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the country’s former supreme leader, and to try to gather support for a mosque he wanted to build in Guyana. He had been to Iran twice before, he said.

The attacks were designed to destroy “the whole of Kennedy,” the largest airport in the New York City area, Defreitas said in a taped conversation, according to the Justice Department. The plot was foiled in the planning stages with the aid of an informant, Steven Francis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger told the jury.

The plotters conducted surveillance of the airport, including videotaping its buildings, and sought expert advice, financing and explosives, she said.

Technical Advice

In her June 30 opening statement, Berger told jurors that Kadir was an engineer who advised on the technical aspects of the plot.

Abdel Nur, a citizen of Guyana, pleaded guilty June 29 to one count of providing support to terrorists. Kareem Ibrahim, a citizen of Trinidad, was granted a separate trial at a later date due to a medical condition.

Defreitas, a U.S. citizen and native of Guyana, pleaded not guilty in 2007. His co-defendants pleaded not guilty in 2008. They have been in custody without bail.

Defreitas and Kadir face life in prison if convicted.

The case is U.S. v. Defreitas, 07-cr-00543, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

–With assistance from Donald Jeffrey and Patricia Hurtado in New York. Editors: Andrew Dunn, Fred Strasser

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