Tue January 29, 2013
One Iraqi Sentenced to Life in Prison, Second to 40 Years in Bowling Green Terrorism Case
A federal judge sentenced one Iraqi man accused of entering into a terrorist plot in Bowling Green to a life sentence in prison, with a second man given a 40 year sentence.
Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi appeared at the William H. Natcher federal courthouse in Bowling Green Tuesday to receive sentencing for a serious of charges related to a plot to send weapons, explosives, and money to Al-Qaida in Iraq.
The 30-year-old Alwan was given 40 years in prison for his role in the plot. He could have received a life sentence, but Judge Thomas B. Russell went along with the recommendation of prosecutors to give a lesser sentence since Alwan cooperated in the case.
Hammadi received a life sentence. The two were arrested in Warren County in 2009.
Both men had previously pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and conspiracy to send Stinger surface-to-air missiles to Iraq. Alwan and Hammadi also pleaded to making false statements when they applied for admission to the United States as refugees.
The terrorist plot was actually a government sting operation. This led the Iraqis' lawyers to claim they were victims of entrapment.
Join WKU Public Radio Wednesday during Morning Edition for recaps of the sentencing handed down Tuesday in Bowling Green's federal court.
Update at 4:44 p.m.:
WKU Public Radio's Lisa Autry says the second Iraqi defendant, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, is being questioned by his lawyer concerning his upbringing in Iraq. Hammadi is due to be sentenced for taking part in a plot to send weapons and money to Al-Qaida in Iraq.
Update at 3:45 p.m.:
A federal judge in Bowling Green has sentenced one of the two Iraqi men accused of trying to aid Al-Qaida in Iraq. Thirty-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan was given a prison sentence of 40 years.
Alwan could have received a life sentence, but Judge Thomas B. Russell went with the government's request of 40 years, citing Alwan's cooperation in the case.
The second defendent, 24-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi is being sentenced at this hour.
The two were arrested in Warren County in 2009 and charged with trying to send weapons, explosives, and money to members of Al-Qaida in Iraq. Hammadi's attorney is asking the judge to consider a lesser sentence for his client, claiming Hammadi only got involved in the plot because he was unemployed and needed money.
Update at 3:34 p.m.:
A federal judge in Bowling Green has just sentenced one of the two Iraqi men on trial for terrorism charges, Waad Ramadan Alwan, to 40 years in prison. The second man, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, is being sentenced at this hour.
Update at 2:49 p.m.:
We’re still awaiting word on Tuesday’s sentencing of two Iraqi men arrested in 2011 in Bowling Green on federal terrorism charges.
Judge Thomas B. Russell was originally scheduled to sentence 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 24-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi at noon today at the federal courthouse in Warren County.
WKU Public Radio’s Lisa Autry is at the courthouse awaiting the sentencing, and told us the judge had pushed back the announcement until later in the afternoon. We will bring you the sentencing announcements as soon as they come into us.
Alwan and Hammadi face federal charges of trying to send weapons, explosives, and money to members of Al-Qaida in Iraq. Their 2009 arrests raised issues surrounding the security screenings of those who apply for refugee status in the U.S. Alwan and Hammadi came to America as refugees fleeing the violence in Iraq.
A lawyer for Hammadi is asking Judge Russell for a reduced sentence for his client, claiming Hammadi got caught up in a U.S. government sting operation, and never would have participated in the plot if he hadn’t been unemployed and without money.
Federal prosecutors say they have recordings of two bragging about planting improvised explosive devices in Iraq that targeted American forces.
We're still awaiting word on the sentences handed down to two Iraqi men arrested in Bowling Green in 2011 on federal terrorism charges. WKU Public Radio's Lisa Autry just called to say the sentencing, which had been scheduled to come down at noon, will be announced at the federal courthouse in Warren County sometime after 1 p.m.
Judge Thomas B. Russell will hand down sentences for 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and 24-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. The two faced charges of trying to send weapons, explosives, and money to members of Al-Qaida in Iraq.
We'll have updates here, at our Facebook page, and on the air as soon as those sentences are handed down.