Appeals Court Upholds Life Prison Sentence For Iraqi 'Terrorist' Caught In One Of The FBI's Own Terrorist Plots
from the make-up-your-own-plots dept
Either way, in one such case, Iraqi refugee Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison -- and that sentence was just upheld by the 6th circuit appeals court, though much of it on the basis of procedural issues. It appears that Hammadi, without a plea deal in place, agreed to plead guilty, thereby foreclosing many of his entrapment arguments. Given how much pressure the DOJ likely put on him to plead guilty (this is where the DOJ really puts the squeeze on people), Hammadi may have felt he had no choice. Now, Hammadi may be a very bad person. He may even have done terroristic things in Iraq and perhaps eagerly wanted to do more in the US. If some of the government's claims about him are true, you could see where it would make sense to have some surveillance over him. But it seems to be stepping over the line to then set up an entirely fake plot, involving shipping fake weapons to fake terrorists -- and then choosing a combination of "weapons" that allowed the feds to give him the highest possible sentence: life in prison, which is what he got.
The appeals court doesn't really see a big deal in all of this, suggesting that his history, his eagerness to take part in this fake scheme, and a variety of other side points make all of this okay. I have a lot of trouble with that, because it's easy to portray someone taking part in such an effort as "eager" when that might not actually be the case. The ability for the DOJ to misrepresent Hammadi's involvement is very high here, but the court seems to accept basically all of it. Other courts have found the same way, so this isn't surprising or outside of precedent. It just seems troubling that the DOJ can go around setting up fake plots, encouraging people to take part in them, often pushing them further and further, and then use all of that as evidence of anyone being involved in a real plot.