Saturday, November 3, 2012

Brotherly love in North Carolina

After his conviction of being a jihadist and sentenced to 45 years in prison, younger brother decided to follow sura 47 verse 4 where it says "... when ye meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks..."

From Reflector November 2 by Michael Biesecker

Brother pleads guilty in beheading plot

RALEIGH — The younger brother of a North Carolina terror suspect serving 45 years in prison for plotting to attack a Marine base pleaded guilty Thursday to plotting to behead government witnesses who testified against his sibling.

Shkumbin Sherifi, 22, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a single count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire along with a co-defendant, former special education teacher Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 47, of Raleigh.

Prosecutors offered a plea deal to both, agreeing to drop eight other counts in exchange for testimony against Hysen Sherifi at his upcoming trial, set to begin Monday.

Authorities say Hysen Sherifi, 28, asked another inmate to help him hire a hit man and then recruited his brother and Elshiekh to deliver a $5,000 down payment for the first murder.

But the fellow inmate Sherifi approached contacted the FBI instead, allowing federal agents to set up an elaborate sting that included a confidential informant posing as the representative of a shadowy assassin named Treetop. That informant took the money and later provided faked pictures appearing to show the targeted witness beheaded and lying in a shallow grave.

Shkumbin Sherifi and Elshiekh were both videotaped meeting with the made-up hit man's helper and federal agents say the school teacher hocked her gold jewelry to help finance the beheading. Each faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines when they are sentenced in February.

The younger Sherifi's defense lawyer, James Payne of Shallotte, said his client's decision to become a government witness had been a tough one.

"Obviously, this is his brother and this is a difficult time for Shkumbin, but he is ready to step forward and take responsibility for his actions," Payne, a retired Marine, said after the hearing.

The Sherifi family fled Kosovo in 1999 during a brutal sectarian war between Serbs and ethnic Albanians. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Shkumbin Sherifi lived at home with his parents and sisters, occasionally taking classes at a nearby community college and recording vengeful rap music in his native Albanian. Earlier deemed a flight risk by a federal judge, Sherifi will remain in detention until sentencing.

Elshiekh will remain free on bond pending sentencing. She and her lawyer declined comment as they walked out of the courtroom.

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