Audio of Lisa Autry's report on Tuesday's sentencing of Alwan and Hammadi
Two Iraqi citizens living in Bowling Green who admitted sending weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq were sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green. Both Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanned Shareef Hamaddi admitted taking part in insurgent activities in Iraq prior to arriving in the U.S. in 2009. Federal authorities found Alwan's fingerprint on an unexploded bomb in Iraq and launched an investigation.
The Iraqi men were arrested in 2011 after they agreed to help a government informant load cash and weapons into a tractor-trailer they were told was destined for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Over the course of five hours, each man separately received his punishment. First to enter the courtroom was the 31-year-old Alwan. Wearing prison orange, he sat next to his interpreter, and appeared unmoved by the piercing stares from the courtroom audience. Justice Department Attorney Larry Schneider said Alwan was interested in becoming the leader of a terrorist cell in the U.S. and that he recruited Hammadi, describing him as "worth his weight in gold," and as an "experienced" insurgent.
Hoping to avoid a life sentence in prison, one of two Bowling Green Iraqi refugees set to be sentenced Tuesday for attempting to send weapons and cash to al-Qaeda in Iraq is alleging he was entrapped in a U.S. government scheme.
The Louisville Courier-Journal is reporting a lawyer for Mohanad Shareef Hammadi cites a study of more than 500 terrorism prosecutions since 9/11 that found an FBI informant led more than one-third of the plots and provided all the necessary weapons, money and transportation.
In a sentencing memorandum, Hammadi's court appointed lawyer James Earhart says his client was unemployed and had no money, weapons of means of transporting them when he was recruited by a confidential government informant.
A federal judge has delayed sentencing until late January for a pair of Iraqi nationals who pleaded guilty to conspiring to send weapons, cash and explosives to al-Qaida in Iraq.
U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell rescheduled for Jan. 29 the sentencing of 30-year-old Waad Ramadan Alwan and his co-defendant, 24-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. Sentencing had originally been planned for Jan. 3 in federal court in Bowling Green.
Alwan pleaded guilty in December 2011. Hammadi bypassed a trial and entered a guilty plea in August.
Several U.S. soldiers from Pennsylvania plan to attend the Bowling Green trial of an Iraqi refugee accused of plotting to help terrorists in Iraq. The soldiers lost six members of their National Guard unit in two roadside bomb attacks in 2005 and suspect the refugee may have been involved.