US ‘video terrorist’ pair jailed for 17 and 13 years


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8412984.stm

Sadequee poses in front of the US Capitol (Handout: US Attorney's office)

Sadequee was born in Virginia and has family in the Atlanta area

Two US men convicted of plotting to aid terrorists by filming landmarks and sending the clips abroad have been given lengthy prison sentences.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee was jailed for 17 years, three years less than the prosecution had requested.

Sadequee, 23, also went to Bangladesh to meet terrorist cells and tried to help a Pakistani militant group.

His friend and co-defendant, 24-year-old Syed Haris Ahmed, got 13 years in prison and 30 years supervised release.

Sadequee, who denies any involvement in terrorist activity, refused several requests to stand during sentencing.

During the hearing, he broke into prayer and melodic chants as he spoke for nearly an hour about Islam.

He said: “I have not and will not request for any sentence because it does not matter to me.” He added: “I submit to no-one’s authority but the authority of God.”

‘Empty talk’

US District Judge Bill Duffey told Sadequee: “You have every right to reject our country and its values and to openly criticise it. But what we don’t allow is to engage in crimes that put others at risk.”

US citizen Sadequee, who represented himself at the trial, acknowledged he had spent time discussing jihad in online forums, but said it was only empty talk.

“We were immature young guys who had imaginations running wild,” he told jurors. “But I was not then, and am not now, a terrorist.”

Prosecutors said he and Ahmed – who was convicted in June on similar charges – drove around Washington and filmed 62 clips of various sites including the US Capitol, a fuel depot and a Masonic temple.

They said Sadequee then sent at least two of the video clips, with titles such as “jimmy’s 13th birthday party” and “volleyball contest”, to an overseas contact.

US officials also found he had communicated with Mirsad Bektasevic, a Balkan-born Swede convicted in 2007 of plotting to blow up a European target to make foreign troops withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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