Maximum prison sentences for 2 brothers in terror plot

Jun 11, 2015, 8:12 AM

MIAMI (AP) — A federal judge imposed the maximum possible prison sentences Thursday on two Pakistani-born brothers who admitted trying to pull off a terrorist bomb attack against New York City landmarks and later assaulted two deputy U.S. marshals while in custody.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom compared the plot, which never got past the planning stages, to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings in which the two attackers used commonplace pressure cookers. In the Florida case, evidence shows the younger brother, 22-year-old Raees Alam Qazi, researched how to make bombs on the Internet using readily available items such as Christmas tree lights and chemicals.

“You are a terrorist. Evil in nature and evil in your deeds,” Bloom said to Raees Qazi. “You chose to engage in conduct that can only be described as evil and reprehensible.”

The judge sentenced Raees Qazi to 35 years in prison while his brother, 32-year-old Sheheryar Alam Qazi, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars. Both sentences were three years above those recommended by prosecutors and defense attorneys in a March plea deal.

Sheheryar Qazi got a lesser sentence because his main role was to back his brother financially as he sought to actively plan an attack, according to court documents. Bloom said evidence shows Sheheryar Qazi was fully aware of and supported the plot.

“Your assistance allowed your brother to continue with his evil plan,” the judge said, adding that the FBI investigation and arrests “prevented what could have been a tragic loss of many lives.”

The two brothers, who lived in Broward County, Florida, were arrested there in November 2012 after Raees Qazi returned from New York by bus following a target scouting mission and possibly an aborted attack, authorities said.

Neither man said anything beyond simple one-word answers to the judge’s questions, and Sheheryar Qazi spent the hearing busily writing on a yellow legal pad with his head bowed. Their attorneys also declined comment in court and outside.

According to a factual statement signed by both brothers, Raees Qazi tried to join Islamic extremists in 2011 in Afghanistan while visiting Pakistan. When that failed, he opted to become a “lone wolf” who would plot ways of attacking the U.S. from within.

Raees Qazi told a confidential FBI informant in one meeting that he had been in contact with al-Qaida operatives and added, “the leaders know what they are talking about so when they call on Muslims in the West to stay in the West, there’s a reason for that,” according to the statement.

Both brothers were avid followers of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Muslim cleric who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September 2011, according to the statement. They were also recorded in FBI wiretaps and listening devices expressing support for al-Qaida and its former leader, Osama bin Laden, and took tips from the terror group’s Inspire magazine.

Earlier in the case, defense lawyers sought access to information about the brothers collected under the once-secret National Security Agency surveillance program revealed by one of its contractors, Edward Snowden. Prosecutors eventually agreed they had a duty to turn over the information but did not do so because they decided not to use it as evidence.

As the case was progressing, on April 6, 2014, the brothers used a ruse to distract two deputy marshals while being escorted in the Miami court complex. The marshals suffered bruises and other injuries in the attack, during which the brothers yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is Great.”

___

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

Associated Press

California appeals court rejects COVID-19 fines for church

A California church that defied safety regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic by holding large religious services won’t have to pay about $200,000 in fines, a state appeals court ruled. Calvary Chapel San Jose and its pastors were held in contempt of court and fined in 2020 and 2021 for violating state and county limits on […]
18 hours ago
This photo provided of Univision Arizona shows empty shipping containers toppled over Sunday overni...
Associated Press

Arizona’s border wall delayed after 2 containers topple

PHOENIX (AP) — An effort by Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to use shipping containers to close a 1,000-foot gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall near Yuma suffered a brief setback when two stacked containers somehow toppled over. Claudia Ramos, a correspondent for the digital platform of Univision Noticias in Arizona, posted on her Twitter […]
18 hours ago
President Joe Biden shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., after signing t...
Associated Press

What’s in big Biden bill? Health, climate goals become law

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden arrived at the White House promising to “build back” America, and legislation he signed Tuesday delivers a slimmer, though not insignificant, version of that once sweeping idea. Approved by the divided Congress, the bill brings the biggest investment ever in the U.S. to fight climate change. Also in the […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Courtroom notes showing that a Washington County, Oregon, judge threatened to hold Oregon Pu...
Associated Press

After firing public defense commissioners, new members named

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The day after Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters fired all nine members of the state commission that oversees public defense, she said Tuesday that she was appointing four new commissioners and reappointing five commissioners from the previous group. Walters had fired the commission members out of frustration that hundreds […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Musician R. Kelly leaves the Leighton Criminal Court building in Chicago on June 6, 2019. Ke...
Associated Press

R Kelly jury picked in child pornography, trial-fixing case

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury was impaneled Tuesday in R. Kelly’s hometown of Chicago to decide multiple charges against the R&B singer, as prosecutors and defense attorneys argued toward the end of the process about whether the government was improperly attempting to keep some Blacks off the jury. Kelly, who is Black, is accused […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Man guilty in Christmas Day slayings of wife, son, neighbor

PONTIAC, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois jury found a man guilty Tuesday of killing his wife, son and neighbor on Christmas Day 2019. The Livingston County jury convicted Clifford Brewer, 55, of Cullom, of murder in the three slayings. returning the verdicts a few hours after receiving the case. Brewer told police he woke […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Maximum prison sentences for 2 brothers in terror plot