A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] on Wednesday sentenced former Guyana parliament member Abdul Kadir to life in prison [FBI press release] for plotting to blow up John F Kennedy International Airport [official website]. Kadir and coconspirator Russell Defreitas, originally arrested [JURIST report] in 2007, were convicted by a federal jury in July on charges of conspiracy to attack a public transportation system, conspiracy to destroy a building by fire or explosive, conspiracy to attack aircraft and aircraft materials, conspiracy to destroy international airport facilities and conspiracy to attack a mass transportation facility. A third conspirator, Abdel Nur, pleaded guilty in June to supporting the plot and faces a sentence of up to 15 years. A fourth member of the plot, Kareem Ibrahim, faces trial on the same charges as Kadir. US Attorney Loretta Lynch said, "'[t]he sentence imposed on Abdul Kadir sends a powerful and clear message. We will bring to justice those who plot to attack the United States of America."
According to the original complaint [text, PDF], the plot was intended to "cause greater destruction than in the Sept. 11 attacks," according to one of the suspects. The plot could have destroyed parts of New York's borough of Queens [official website], where an underground fuel pipeline serving the airport runs. Authorities were tracking the plot for more than a year before making the arrests. Defreitas had said he formed the plot more than a decade ago when he worked as a cargo handler. He said he chose the airport because its destruction would put "the whole country in mourning."