Tags: Two | Guilty | Detroit | Terror | Trial

Two Guilty in Detroit Terror Trial

Tuesday, 03 June 2003 12:00 AM

Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, 37, was found guilty on terrorism-related and conspiracy charges.

Elmardoudi's lawyer, William Swor, told the Detroit News that the post Sept. 11 climate contributed to jury's verdict.

"With all the pressure, they had to find someone guilty," Swor said.

Karim Koubriti, 24, was convicted on a lesser terrorism-related charge. The other two men, Ahmed Hannan, 34, and Farouk Ali-Haimoud, 22, were acquitted, but Hannan and the three others were found guilty of document fraud.

Manufacturing false identification papers and documents carries a five-year prison sentence.

"I congratulate the prosecutors and agents who worked tirelessly on this case," U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said. "Because of our efforts, Abdel-Illah Elmardoudi faces up to 20 years in prison, Karim Koubriti faces up to 10 years in prison, and Ahmed Hannan faces up to five years in prison."

In a statement, Ashcroft said the verdicts in Detroit sent a message that the Justice Department will work to "detect, disrupt and dismantle the activities of terrorist cells in the United States and abroad."

The nine-woman, three-man jury deliberated the case against the Arab immigrants for six days after hearing 26 days of testimony from 59 witnesses.

Ali-Haimoud, Hannan and Koubriti were arrested just six days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington as government agents looked for another man, who later was arrested in a Chicago suburb and subsequently cleared of any terrorist involvement.

When the three were arrested at their suburban Detroit apartment, investigators found false identity papers and a day planner containing sketches of alleged terrorist targets, including a U.S. air base in Turkey.

Elmardoudi was arrested last November on a bus in North Carolina during a random drug sweep.

The government's case rested largely on the testimony of Youssef Hmimssa, a forger from Morocco who is in the United States illegally and was sentenced on stolen credit card charges. He testified the defendants scared him. He said they tried to recruit him to help overthrow the government of Algeria, seeking his help in sending weapons and money, and enlisting his skills as a credit card thief and forger.

Hmimssa also said two of the defendants talked about poisoning airline passengers through their jobs at Detroit Metro Airport and Ali-Haimoud talked about joining Osama bin Laden and killing Jews, Christians and wrong-thinking Muslims.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi, 37, was found guilty on terrorism-related and conspiracy charges. Elmardoudi's lawyer, William Swor, told the Detroit News that the post Sept. 11 climate contributed to jury's verdict. "With all the pressure, they had to find someone guilty,"...
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2003-00-03
Tuesday, 03 June 2003 12:00 AM
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