Ohio mall bomber wannabe Al Qaeda ally sentenced to 10 years
November 27, 2007
Ally of al-Qaida terrorist faces 10-year prison term Tuesday
COLUMBUS, Ohio: In early August 2002, small businessman Nuradin Abdi was angry with how the U.S. war on terror was being waged in Afghanistan.
Sitting in a popular suburban coffee shop, Abdi, a Somali immigrant who ran a cell phone business, voiced his frustration to friends, a group that included a man later convicted of plotting with al-Qaida to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge.
Federal prosecutors say Abdi discussed bombing an unspecified Columbus-area shopping mall. Abdi's lawyer says his client was doing nothing more than venting.
The alleged plot was never carried out and Abdi pleaded guilty in July to a single terrorism charge. That plea deal included a 10-year prison sentence, which U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley was expected to formally impose Tuesday in federal court in Columbus.
Prosecutors declined to comment. Abdi's attorney said his client wanted it known his actions were independent of his Muslim faith.
"As an individual who happens to be a Muslim he accepts full responsibility and accepts the consequences of his plea," attorney Mahir Sherif said Monday. "However, he wants to make it very clear that his faith, which is Islam, has absolutely nothing to do with what he pleaded guilty to."
After insisting for years he had done nothing wrong, Abdi pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support for terrorists. As part of his plea deal, he will be deported to Somalia after serving his 10-year term.
Abdi and two friends "could attack the mall with a bomb," Abdi told his friends Aug. 8, 2002, as they sipped refreshments at the coffee shop, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court.
One of the men with Abdi that day was Iyman Faris, who pleaded guilty in May 2003 to providing material support for terrorism. A Pakistani immigrant, Faris was convicted of plotting with al-Qaida to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
A second man, Christopher Paul, a U.S. citizen who grew up in suburban Columbus, was charged in April with plotting to bomb European tourist resorts frequented by Americans as well as overseas U.S. military bases. Paul's trial is scheduled for January 2009.
Abdi was arrested on Nov. 28, 2003, as he left his house for morning prayer.
Authorities worried he might launch his attack on a mall crowded with shoppers.