A federal judge at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey March 5 upheld the guilty verdicts reached by a jury against five men convicted of plotting to kill US soldiers at Fort Dix. The five men, Serdar Tatar, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, Dritan Duka, Eljvir Duka, and Shain Duka, were acquitted of attempted murder, but convicted in December 2008 of conspiracy to commit murder and weapons offenses. Lawyers for the five men appeared before the court to argue that the claims against their clients were not supported by the evidence presented, and asked the court to overturn the verdicts. The court denied the request, and upheld the jury verdicts. The defense had argued that there was no plot, but the government paid informants to get the accused to discuss one.
Federal prosecutors maintained that although the men had no ties to any terrorist organization, they were inspired by al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and were planning an attack. The men face a sentence of up to life in prison. The five suspects were arrested in May 2007 for allegedly plotting to sneak onto the New Jersey military base and kill soldiers. They pleaded not guilty in January 2008. Their trial began in October. Last March, an accomplice, Agron Abdullahu, was sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to provide firearms and ammunitions to the other five men. (Jurist, March 5)
See our last post on specious terrorism cases.