Duka Dad: terror plotter sons "pure as a babe's innocence" -father threatened to attack school principal when boys were younger
June 13, 2007
MIM: According to one account the Dukas were more babes with arms then "pure as a babes innocence"
Father asserts sons' innocence in Ft. Dix plot, cares for grandchildren
CHERRY HILL - The father of three men charged with plotting to attack Fort Dix asserted his sons' innocence Wednesday, the day before an arraignment scheduled for Thursday.
"They are pure as a babe's innocence," said Ferik Duka, the father of Eljvir Duka, 23, Dritan Duka, 28, and Shain Duka, 26, all charged last month with plotting to attack American military bases, including Fort Dix.
Also charged were Muhammad Shnewer, 22, of Cherry Hill, and Serdar Tatar, 23, of Philadelphia. If convicted, the men could face life in prison, attorneys have said.
Another man, Agron Abdullahu, of Buena Vista, was charged with supplying the men with weapons.
The hearing Thursday is expected to be brief, officials said. It may simply deal with scheduling for future court appearances.
Prosecutors say the men were acting independent of any international terrorist organization, but were driven by fundamentalist Islam to plan the attacks. An investigation into the men began when the FBI received information of a video the men made showing them firing weapons and talking about jihad, or holy war.
Staff at a restaurant owned by Tatar's father said the father didn't want to be interviewed.
Shnewer's family couldn't be reached Wednesday.
Ferik Duka, an ethnic Albanian who moved to this country from Macedonia in 1984, said the evidence isn't enough to sway him to believe his sons plotted against the United States. The Dukas were essentially raised in this country. They moved to New Jersey in 1996. At the time of their arrest, they were operating a roofing company.
Albanians are traditionally very fond of the United States because this country intervened in Kosovo in 1999, where Serbians persecuting the Albanian population there.
"We love this country," Ferik Duka said repeatedly as he stood in the doorway of his Cherry Hill home surrounded by young, curly-haired children.
They're his grandchildren, the children of the sons now in a federal detention facility. He's raising the seven children now, ranging in age from toddlers to a 9-year-old, he said.
He hasn't been able to visit his sons in jail, he said. But he's received letters from them.
"They're doing alright," he said when asked about their condition.
Whether inmates in federal custody can receive visitors depends on the facility holding them, Mike Schroeder, spokesman for the U.S. Marshal's Office of New Jersey, said.
Duka believes spies trying to further their careers framed his sons.
Currently, his focus is on family, he said.
"I'm taking care of my grandchildren," he said.