No Reduction of Sentence for Man Convicted in 2015 Prophet Muhammad Cartoon Contest Attack in Garland – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth


PHOENIX (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A judge refused to reduce the 30-year prison sentence for an Arizona man convicted of helping plan a 2015 bombing of a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, even though one of his convictions was overturned after discovering that the FBI had withheld surveillance video during his trial.

Lawyers for Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, who was sentenced Tuesday, October 19 in response to the dismissal of the charge, had requested a prison sentence of 7.5 years.

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But U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton refused to reduce her sentence for her convictions related to the attack on the anti-Islam event.

Kareem, an American-born Muslim convert, was convicted of conspiring to supply the weapons used in the attack by two friends and of conspiring with the two friends to support the Islamic State terrorist group.

Abdul Malk Kareem

His friends, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, were killed outside the event in a police shootout. A security guard was also injured.

The contest featured cartoons offensive to Muslims.

Bolton stressed the seriousness of Kareem’s remaining convictions, raised public safety concerns if he was released early, and questioned whether Kareem would stray from his radical religious beliefs as he grew older.

Even though Kareem was not in Texas during the attack, Bolton said jurors found Kareem knew Simpson and Soofi were planning the attack on behalf of the Islamic State and told them how to use and clean the weapons. .

Kareem’s conviction for transporting firearms with intent to commit a felony – for which he was sentenced to 10 years in prison – was overturned in late 2019 due to the FBI’s failure to deliver the video taken outside Simpson and Soofi’s apartment in Phoenix.

The footage showed the two men dressed in religious clothing as they left for Texas to carry out the attack. Soofi carried a handgun on his hip and the two men carried sports bags to Soofi’s car.

The FBI didn’t return the video until nearly three years after the trial.

Bolton had previously ruled that the government violated the obligation to provide evidence that could be used by defendants to support their innocence or to question the credibility of prosecution witnesses.

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The judge, who concluded that the non-return of the footage was not an act of bad faith but rather an oversight, granted Kareem a new trial on the charge in question. Prosecutors subsequently refused to try Kareem again on the charge.

Kareem was convicted of his four other felony convictions, two of which involved firearms.

“The fact that the crime was dismissed and the government chose not to be tried does not change what I think is fair punishment,” Bolton said.

Before the new sentence was handed down, Kareem admitted to going shooting in the desert with Simpson and Soofi in the months leading up to the attack, but maintained he was innocent.

He also said he did not share the radical ideology of Simpson and Soofi. “I’m not that,” Kareem said. “I love my country.”

Kareem’s attorneys pointed out that the surveillance camera outside Simpson and Soofi’s apartment did not capture any footage of Kareem and argued that the footage would have raised doubts at trial as one would expect that a person serving as a trainer and motivator for such an attack would have been at the apartment to sort out the last minute details.

Authorities said Kareem watched videos depicting jihadist violence with the two friends, encouraged them to launch a violent attack in support of the terror group, and sought a trip to the Middle East to join the state’s fighters. Islamic.

They said Kareem expressed his desire to put a bomb on his body to kill non-believers and celebrated the 2015 attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in what extremists claimed was retaliation for the publication. of cartoons on the prophet Muhammad.

The camera outside Simpson and Soofi’s apartment was not the first surprising revelation made by federal authorities since Kareem’s conviction in March 2016.

In the months following his trial, authorities first revealed that an undercover FBI agent exchanged social media messages with Simpson days before the attack and was sitting in a vehicle outside. from the Garland Convention Center when the attack began.

As the officer rounded Simpson and Soofi’s car, which had stopped abruptly, the attackers got out and opened fire with military-style rifles. The officer drove away and was arrested by the police. Prosecutors said information about the undercover agent was classified at the time of the trial.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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