Entrapment claimed in terrorism case

Jan. 28, 2013 at 4:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A man convicted in Kentucky on terrorism charges alleges the government improperly schemed to get him a longer sentence.

A lawyer for Mahanad Shareef Hammadi cites a study of more than 500 terrorism prosecutions that found FBI informants led more than a third of the plots and provided the necessary weapons, money and transportation, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported Monday.

Iraqi refugees Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan, arrested in 2011 after agreeing to help a government informant load cash and weapons, including surface-to-air Stinger missiles, into a truck the pair believed was destined for al-Qaida, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and lying when they sought refuge in the United States as refugees.

In an unusual argument, James Earhart, Hammadi's lawyer, asked for a reduced sentence of 15 years for his client, hoping to avert a life sentence. He claims Hammadi was a victim of "sentencing entrapment" by the government.

Earhart contends the government entrapped Hammadi into committing a more serious offense by including the Stinger missiles in the cache loaded onto the truck, alleging the U.S. Justice Department was frustrated with courts imposing lower court sentences in similar cases.

Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas B. Russell is expected to sentence Hammadi and Alwan Tuesday, the newspaper said.

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