Caribbean terror suspects plead not guilty

NEW YORK, United States, June 27, 2008 – Three middle-aged Caribbean men accused of plotting an attack on the John F Kennedy International Airport pleaded not guilty when they appeared before a US federal judge, just hours after arriving in New York.

Trinidadian Kareem Ibrahim, 62, and Guyanese nationals Abdel Nur, 57, and Abdul Kadir, 59, who is also a former parliamentarian, had been flown in from Trinidad where they were fighting extradition. When the men appeared before a judge at the Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, they were all denied bail and another court appearance scheduled for August 7.

The three, along with Russell De Freitas, another Guyana-born man who has US citizenship, are accused of planning to blow up buildings, fuel tanks and pipelines at the airport last year. Mr De Freitas has been in custody since last year, but is still awaiting trial.

Mr Kadir’s lawyer, Kafahni Nkrumah, said that the men were victims of post-9/11 hysteria, while Mr Nur’s lawyer, Daniel Nobel, said the charges were completely unsubstantiated.

“I’m confident that we’ll be able to demonstrate that this is one more in a significant chain of cases in which charges of this nature have been grossly exaggerated,” the Mr Nobel said.

Mr Kadir, Mr Nur and Mr Ibrahim had been trying to avoid their extradition to the US since last year, but they reached the end of the line Monday when the Trinidad Court of Appeal down their challenge.

On Tuesday night, the three were rounded up and transferred to the US, by private jet, in an operation that reportedly involved as many as 15 Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents and law enforcement officials from the twin-island republic.