Terrorist Sentenced in Plot to Behead Witnesses

     (CN) – A convicted terrorist who plotted to behead federal agents and witnesses who testified against him was sentenced Monday to life in prison, authorities said.
     “Hysen Sherifi, while in prison on a terrorism conviction, hatched a sinister murder-for-hire plot against the witnesses and FBI agents who helped convict him,” said John Strong, special agent in charge of the FBI Charlotte (N.C.) Division.
     Sherifi, 29, conspired to kill three FBI agents and three government informants who had testified at his trial, according to the Department of Justice.
     Sherifi and five other Raleigh-area Muslims were convicted in 2011 of plotting to attack the Marine base in Quantico, Va., and overseas targets. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison for the terrorism plot.
     While awaiting sentencing, Sherifi recruited his brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, 23, and local school teacher Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 48, to help him exact revenge.
     Sherifi’s brother and Elshiekh raised money to help pay for the murders and met with a government informant they believed to be a “middleman” for a hit man, authorities said.
     Hysen Sherifi had told his conspirators that he wanted each target beheaded and photographed after the beheading, law enforcement officials said.
     Authorities say he was seeking revenge for his conviction and a new trial, and wanted to prevent the targets from testifying at a co-conspirator’s upcoming trial.
     “On Jan. 22, 2012, the conspirators were all arrested shortly after Shkumbin Sherifi accepted pictures from the supposed middleman, purporting to show a beheaded government witness,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
     Shkumbin Sherifi and Elshiekh pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received three years and 3.5 years in prison, respectively, followed by three years of parole.
     “The sentences handed down today send a clear message the FBI and our law enforcement partners will not tolerate attempts to thwart the judicial process,” Strong said.

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