A federal judge set an October sentencing date for a Dawsonville man convicted of conspiring to provide support to terrorists after the man’s co-defendant was found guilty of similar charges Wednesday.
A jury in U.S. District Court deliberated five hours before finding 23-year-old Ehsanul Islam Sadequee guilty of supporting terrorists and a foreign terrorist organization. Sadequee, of Roswell, conspired with Dawsonville’s Syed Haris Ahmed by shooting "casing" videos of Washington, D.C., landmarks and discussing plots to commit "violent jihad" against Americans.
Ahmed, a 24-year-old Pakistani native and U.S. citizen who moved with his parents to Dawsonville in 2003, was found guilty by U.S. District Judge William Duffey in a bench trial in June.
Ahmed and Sadequee met in 2005 while Ahmed was a student at Georgia Tech. The two men later engaged in paintball gun battles in the woods of Dawson County in what they said was preparation for violent jihad. They also traveled to Canada and met with like-minded people, discussing ways they could attack American targets including an oil refinery and an Air Force base.
Both men contended in court that the videos and wild plots they discussed were nothing more than foolish boasting. But the videos showed up on the computer of a London propagandist and recruiter for al-Qaida in Iraq, eventually being traced back to a camera in Ahmed’s Dawsonville home.
A jury also found Sadequee guilty of conspiring with a group dubbed "al-Qaida in Northern Europe." Federal prosecutors said two men who had communicated often with Sadequee were arrested in Bosnia and Herzegovina in October 2005 while carrying 20 pounds of plastic explosives and a "suicide belt" equipped with a detonator. The two men had discussed the items with Sadequee and their intention to use them in Europe, according to the government.
Sadequee was arrested in April 2006 in Bangladesh. Earlier Ahmed, who agreed to be questioned by the FBI after he was approached by agents at his Atlanta apartment, tried to warn Sadequee that he was being investigated.
The two men will be sentenced by Duffey on Oct. 15. Ahmed faces a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Sadequee is facing up to 60 years in prison.
U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said in a statement that the case was a "sobering reminder that terrorism and its supporters are not confined to distant battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"As recent events further demonstrate, there are still some American citizens willing to take up arms against the United States, our people, our allies, and our interests," Nahmias said. "In the face of this clear threat, federal law enforcement must and will remain vigilant, seeking to disrupt future terrorist networks before a timer is ticking or a trigger is pulled."