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New York - Inmate Who Plotted Synagogue Bombings In Coma After Suicide Attempt

Published on: April 16, 2016 09:36 PM
By: AP
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FILE - Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani stands before a judge during his arraignment in Manhattan criminal court in New York May 12, 2011. ReutersFILE - Algerian-born Ahmed Ferhani stands before a judge during his arraignment in Manhattan criminal court in New York May 12, 2011. Reuters

New York - A man who admitted plotting to bomb New York City synagogues has tried to kill himself in prison after guards tormented him because of his terror case, his lawyers said.

Ahmed Ferhani, who is halfway through a 10-year sentence in a rare state-level terror case, is in a medically induced coma after trying to hang himself in New York’s Attica prison, according to his lawyers.

“He was neither protected nor acknowledged” in prison, lawyer Lamis Deek said, calling Ferhani’s treatment “an outrage.”

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The state Corrections Department would say only that Ferhani, 31, has been taken from Attica to an outside hospital and officials were investigating, though the agency wouldn’t say what was being investigated. Deek said a Buffalo hospital informed Ferhani’s family April 7 of what had happened, but details are unclear.

Ferhani’s suicide attempt is a somber afterword to a case freighted with the rise of homegrown terrorists, the legal legacy of Sept. 11, complaints about police tactics and questions about his mental health.

While most terror cases are handled by federal prosecutors, New York created its own anti-terror law days after 9/11. It had been used only once - against a gang leader who, appeals courts concluded, wasn’t truly a terrorist - before Ferhani and a co-defendant were arrested in May 2011.

An undercover investigator recorded Ferhani, an Algerian who came to the U.S. as a child, disparaging Jews and talking about attacking synagogues in retaliation for what he saw as the mistreatment of Muslims worldwide. Then Ferhani bought guns, ammunition and an inert grenade in a police sting.

The case showed “the threat of terrorism from these lone-wolf radicals is real,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. once said.

But officials faced questions about why federal authorities had declined to pursue the case.

Police said there was no doubt about its strength. But Ferhani’s lawyers accused investigators of entrapping a mentally ill man - hospitalized at least two dozen times before his arrest - to justify extensive surveillance of Muslim communities, a program illuminated in stories by The Associated Press. The New York Police Department has since disbanded a unit at the heart of the program but still uses informants and undercovers to hunt for terror threats.

A grand jury rebuffed a top terror conspiracy charge but indicted Ferhani and his co-defendant on other terror and hate crime charges with the potential for 32 years in prison.

Ferhani pleaded guilty in December 2012, in exchange for 10 years. At his sentencing, he said he’d “use this time to strengthen my mind and character.”

Ferhani and his lawyers say guards at Attica and another prison beat and taunted him because of his terror conviction. One attack left him needing 12 staples in his head, he said in a letter to The Nation, which first reported his suicide attempt.

Ferhani also recently wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying he’d kill himself if guards’ abuse continued, Deek said. The Department of Justice couldn’t immediately say what became of Ferhani’s letters.

He wasn’t on suicide watch when he tried to take his life, though Ferhani has made prior attempts and has been on suicide watch before, Deek said.

Prison disciplinary records show Ferhani was assigned March 14 to 30 days of “keeplock” -confinement in his cell - for using an unspecified drug. Corrections Department policy calls for not imposing such punishment on inmates if it’s known that they are threatening to harm themselves.

The agency wouldn’t discuss Ferhani’s circumstances, citing its investigation.



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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 16, 2016 at 11:40 PM MiUnoichy Says:

Good. Let them all try suicide and may they all stay in a Coma. Otherwise they'll be freed by one democratic president or another. We smart Jews are being fooled by all our haters, including Hillary Clinton who hugged Suha Arafat.

2

 Apr 17, 2016 at 09:18 AM Yossel Says:

The Clintons pardoned federal inmates from New Square, not terrorists. Get your facts straight

3

 Apr 17, 2016 at 09:28 AM yidele1 Says:

good riddance

4

 Apr 17, 2016 at 12:02 PM Mayer Says:

“He was neither protected nor acknowledged” in prison, lawyer Lamis Deek said, calling Ferhani’s treatment “an outrage.” Protected from what? He was in jail not a holiday camp. What was he supposed to be acknowledged as other than a convicted terrorist? And what is the "outrage"? Lets hope the hospital he is on vacation at pulls the plug so we the NY taxpayers will not have to waste any more of our money keeping vermin like this alive.

5

 Apr 17, 2016 at 03:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
MiUnoichy Says:

Good. Let them all try suicide and may they all stay in a Coma. Otherwise they'll be freed by one democratic president or another. We smart Jews are being fooled by all our haters, including Hillary Clinton who hugged Suha Arafat.

No. People like him should live till 180 be fully conscious who and Pain to be an Understatement.

6

 Apr 17, 2016 at 06:07 PM NACHMAN Says:

Bernie Sanders is worse than any president we had. Don't try to ,make some calculations and vote Sanders. Hillary should win NY by a landslide maybe this will send a message to old Bernie that bashing Israel does not pay.

7

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