Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, two men charged with plotting to blow up targets at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, were found guilty of conspiracy charges Aug. 3 by a federal jury in Brooklyn. Defreitas, 67, a naturalized US citizen and former cargo handler at the airport, was found guilty of all six charges against him. Kadir, 58, a citizen of Guyana who once served as a parliament member there, was found guilty on five of the six charges, acquitted of surveillance of a mass-transportation facility. The men could face life in prison, with sentencing scheduled for December. Prosecutors said the men sought aid from al-Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah, recently indicted in federal court in a supposed plot to launch suicide attacks on the New York City subway system. (WSJ, Aug. 3)
As we noted when the pair were arrested in 2007, the men were supposedly linked to an Islamist militant organization that was behind an attempted coup d’etat in Trinidad in 1990. Curiously, the convictions came the same day Trinidad’s government announced formation of a commission to investigate the coup attempt just after its twentieth anniversary. More than 24 were killed and millions lost to looting and arson after militants stormed a session of parliament on July 27, 1990 in a move to overthrow the government of then-Prime Minister Ray Robinson.
The new government of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced the new investigation last month, calling it necessary to bring closure to one of the most traumatic events in the history of Trinidad & Tobago. Accused coup leader and former mounted police constable Yasin Abu Bakr expressed his willingness to cooperate with the probe and reveal details of political deals he and his Jamaat al-Muslimeen organization made with several past administrations. (Caribbean Life News, Aug. 3)
See our last post on the fear in New York City.