Five convicted in plot against Chicago’s Sears Tower

May 13th, 2009 - 6:19 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 13 (DPA) A federal jury in Miami found five men guilty Tuesday of conspiring with the terrorist group Al Qaeda in a plot to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and federal government buildings, while a sixth man was acquitted in the long-running case.
The purported plot against the tallest building in the US was revealed in 2006 but never went beyond the planning stages. It was touted by the US Justice Department as a case that highlighted the dangers of homegrown terrorism.

The plot was uncovered when the group made contact with a law enforcement agent posing as an Al Qaeda operative. Four of the five convicted were US citizens and could receive from 30 to 70 years in prison.

Narseal Batiste, the group’s ringleader, faces the toughest sentence after being convicted on all four terrorism counts, including conspiring to commit war against the US government.

Patrick Abraham, who is of Haitian descent, was convicted of three counts including conspiracy to destroy buildings. Three others - Stanley Grant Phanor, Rotschild Augustine and Burson Augustin - were convicted of two lesser counts of conspiring to provide material support for terrorism.

Naudimar Herrera, who was acquitted, wept outside the court room as he hugged his girlfriend, The Miami Herald reported. He said the other five would “come back and fight” the convictions.

Sentencing has been set for July 27 at Florida’s Southern District Court in Miami.

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