A former Guyanese member of parliament, one of four Caribbean nationals jailed more than two years ago for their part in an alleged plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at New York’s JFK Airport in 2007 is now complaining that he was the victim of an American cowboy trial that has left him stripped of his dignity and languishing in a jail cell.
Abdul Kadir, 62, former civil engineer and mayor of the bauxite town of Linden 70 miles south of Georgetown, charged in an open letter to local Guyanese media this week that key evidence including audio recordings proving that he had denied an invitation from a U.S. government undercover agent to join a group to blow up the fuel tanks was never admitted in evidence making it easy for the court to convict him and impose a life sentence.
“I now languish in prison, away from my family and all, stripped of my human dignity and rights, while still trying to understand everything,” a clearly angry Kadir said in his letter. Its contents were confirmed as authentic by his daughter, Sauda Kadir, who heads the Guyana examinations division of the education ministry. Three of the four defendants are Guyanese, including mastermind and former JFK cargo handler Russell DeFreitas now in his 70s. The other is a Trinidadian cleric. All are over age 60.
Kadir said the recordings would have proven that he had told the confidential informant that “I was opposed to the idea and that I did not support it. Also, recorded conversations between my co-defendant, another Guyanese, and a Trinidadian (on different occasions) confirm that I was not part of their plan and their alleged plot. These were also not admitted as evidence into trial,” he said.
Asked why the father of eight is now speaking out, Sauda Kadir said he is preparing to appeal his sentence “as he thinks he is innocent and did not receive a fair trial. “He did tell the informant that it was un-Islamic to engage in such activities but that evidence was not allowed by the judge,” she said Tuesday.
She said that Kadir was represented by government-paid lawyers but he is now seeking to have his case reopened because of the evidence that was not admitted at trial.
Three of the four defendants were jailed for life and one for 15 years.
Kadir was the one-time mayor of the small bauxite-mining town of Linden and was apparently lured into a trap set by a confidential informant whose sentence for drug trafficking would have been reduced had his work succeeded in gaining convictions for the feds.
Kadir’s children and wife were denied visas to travel to the U.S. to testify on his behalf while the trial was ongoing and unless he is freed in the near future, he is unlikely to ever see them again.
During the trial, the lawyers tried in vain to portray the group as a bunch of loud mouths and “harmless trash talkers” who were egged on by a paid informant with an agenda.
DeFreitas, who is a Muslim with Rastafarian dreadlocks, made headlines back home in Guyana about eight years ago when he had told New York authorities that he had found cocaine in his personal suitcase from a flight from Guyana. The matter was investigated and he was cleared after authorities had agreed that someone had tried to use his bag to smuggle narcotics into the U.S.