2 Ga. men sentenced to prison for aiding terror groups, sending video of US landmarks abroad

By Greg Bluestein, AP
Monday, December 14, 2009

2 Ga. men sentenced in terror video case

ATLANTA — Two Georgia men received more than a decade each in prison on Wednesday for conspiring to support terrorist groups by videotaping U.S. landmarks and sending the videos overseas.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 23, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for four terror-related charges at a hearing in the morning, while hours later 24-year-old Syed Haris Ahmed received a 13-year sentence on a single charge.

Prosecutors say Sadequee and Ahmed, who are both U.S. citizens, never posed an imminent threat to the U.S. but took concrete steps to help terrorists when they sent choppy videos of landmarks to suspected terrorists overseas. Sadequee was also accused of trying to aid a Pakistani-based terror group while on a trip to Bangladesh in 2005.

At the earlier sentencing, Sadequee, who represented himself, gave a rambling 50-minute sermon about “the nature of Islam” and said he wouldn’t submit to the U.S. government’s authority.

“I have not and will not request for any sentence because it does not matter to me,” he said, adding: “I submit to no one’s authority but the authority of God.”

U.S. District Judge Bill Duffey, in a stern speech from the bench, said that Sadequee acted with cold calculation and never showed remorse for his actions.

“You have every right to reject our country and its values and to openly criticize it,” he said. “But what we don’t allow is to engage in crimes that put others at risk. And this is what you’re being held accountable to today.”

Both men also received 30 years of supervised release.

In April 2005, the pair drove Ahmed’s pickup truck to Washington and shot 62 clips of sites including the U.S. Capitol, a fuel depot and a Masonic Temple in northern Virginia, authorities said.

One of the videos, which was played for jurors at both men’s trials, showed the two driving by the Pentagon as Sadequee said: “This is where our brothers attacked the Pentagon.”

In separate trials, both Sadequee and Ahmed sought to portray their online discussions about jihad as empty talk. Sadequee said he never considered following through on the boastful chatter.

A federal jury, though, agreed his actions were serious. Sadequee was found guilty in August of four charges, including providing material support to terrorists and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Ahmed was convicted by a judge of conspiring to support terrorist groups in June.

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