2-for-2. Congratulations to the law and order types in Atlanta who have thus far had a perfect record in prosecuting and convicting suspected terrorists. Their first trophy was Syed Riaz Ahmed who was convicted this past June of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Now comes the latest guilty verdict, this one directed at Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, a former friend of Ahmed and now a fellow inmate in the federal penitentiary system for the foreseeable future.
While i I was a clerk in the federal court in Brooklyn, NY, the government tried to and did convict another suspected terrorist, Shahawar Matin Siraj, who, according to the allegations, wanted to blow up the Herald Square subway station in Manhattan. This case, like many others involving terrorism charges, centered around a government informant who, for all intents and purposes, egged the defendant on and toward more fanciful terroristic conspiracies. I will never forget what the defense attorney, Martin Stolar, said to the press after the guilty verdict was handed down, making clear that the police, in securing the conviction of the defendant through the use of an informant, did nothing to make the city safer.
I feel no different with the latest string of guilty verdicts here in Atlanta. True, the government did not use an informant to secure these verdicts. But, as Don Samuel, the attorney turned legal advisor to Sadequee said, “The more you see these guys [referring to Sadequee and his cohorts], the more you say, ‘You got to be kidding me. These are just kids.”
Last week, the radio show, This American Life, featured a story on another terrorism related case involving an informant and a hapless defendant which took place in New Jersey. It’s worth listening to.