April 29, 2009 / 8:44 PM / 10 years ago

Muslims get long sentences for U.S. Army base plot

PHILADELPHIA, April 29 (Reuters) - Two Muslim men convicted of plotting to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base received long prison sentences on Wednesday for a plan prosecutors said was inspired by holy war against the United States.

Three others in the plot were handed life sentences on Tuesday.

Mohamad Shnewer, 23, a Jordanian-born taxi driver from Philadelphia, was sentenced to life plus 30 years for his part in the plan to attack the base at Fort Dix in New Jersey using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Serdar Tatar, 25, a Turkish-born convenience store clerk from Philadelphia, was given a 33-year sentence in federal prison for his role in the planned attack, which was never carried out.

The two men, together with ethnic Albanian brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, planned to kill as many soldiers as possible at the base in retaliation for what they saw as U.S. oppression of Muslims around the world, prosecutors said. The five were convicted in December.

The Duka brothers, whose family moved from Macedonia during the 1980s, were sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison without parole by U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in federal court in Camden, New Jersey.

The five men were arrested in May 2007 after an electronics store clerk reported receiving a video from them showing militants firing guns in the air and calling for holy war against the United States.

During a 14-month investigation, two FBI informants who infiltrated the group obtained hundreds of hours of audio and video recordings of the men discussing proposed attacks on Fort Dix and other military bases in the Philadelphia area.

Defense attorneys argued during the trial that their clients had been entrapped by the informants and that they had no real intention of carrying out the attacks. (Reporting by Jon Hurdle; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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