Somali Immigrant Sentenced on Terrorist Charges

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A judge in Columbus has sentenced a Somali immigrant to 10 years in prison for plotting to blow up an Ohio shopping mall. It’s the sentence Nuradin Abdi had accepted as part of a plea deal made in July.

Nuradin Abdi’s attorney spoke to the court at length before sentence was passed. Mahir Sherif said his client had no animus toward people in the United States or in Ohio. He said Abdi’s talk about bombing a shopping mall was spurred by the U.S. bombing of Iraq. Later Abdi family spokesman Yusuf Abucar characterized Abdi’s remark this way.

“There were people who were saying after 9/11, United States should go and bomb the shrine of Islam, they should go bomb Mecca,” Abucar said. “Now do you think that kind of statement is justified? Do you think that person really wanted to do that? There are statements that just come out of emotion and you just talk likely without thinking that could be something that you really want to do?”

But the prosecution said the U.S. government’s case went far beyond a threat to blow up or shoot up a central Ohio mall. It involved Abdi’s use of false documentation to enter the U.S. and the stealing of credit cards to finance terrorist operations. He traveled overseas in search of terrorist training and he discussed with convicted terrorist Iyman Faris a missile attack on the nation’s capital. Fred Alverson, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, says Abdi was fully aware of the evidence against him when he reached a plea deal this summer.

“They admitted in July that these were the actions that Mr. Abdi took that contributed to his crimes,” Alverson said.

While Another terror suspect, Christopher Paul, is scheduled to go on trial early in 2009, Alverson says the U.S. continues to investigate others who might be involved in terrorist activity.

“The investigation is going on and other people are being looked at to determine how far this conspiracy went,” Alverson says.

U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley sentenced Abdi to 10 years in federal prison, 3 years probation, ordered his deportation and fined him $100. Abdi’s pleading in the case makes an appeal unlikely.

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