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Syrian and Chilean Condemned To Over 20 Years In Prison For Selling Arms To ‎FARC

By Dialogo
February 26, 2009

Syrian trafficker Monzer Al Kassar, and Chilean Luis Felipe Moreno Godoy were ‎sentenced to more than 20 years' in prison by a U.S. court by agreeing to the illegal sale ‎of weapons to FARC guerrillas, according to the federal Attorney in Manhattan. ‎ Al Kassar was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and his Chilean partner received 25 years ‎imprisonment, reported the source. ‎ Al Kassar, known as the "Prince of Marbella", was convicted last November 20 for arms ‎trafficking with his Chilean partner. ‎ The Syrian businessman, who has outstanding warrants by the Justice Department in ‎Argentina, was arrested in Madrid in 2007 after falling into a trap in which several people ‎posed as members of the guerrilla group and were interested in buying 12,000 weapons to ‎attack U.S. agents in Colombia. ‎ Al Kassar was prepared to sell the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ‎shipments worth millions of dollars in land-air missiles, grenade launchers, tons of ‎explosives, thousands of machine guns and heavy ammunition, according to a statement ‎by the Prosecutor's Office. ‎ ‎"Al Kassar also promised to provide a thousand men to fight with the FARC against U.S. ‎military in Colombia and provide training camps in his country (Syria) to the FARC," he ‎added. ‎ The detainee, who was extradited and sent to New York last June, said he and Moreno ‎Godoy were legal owners of a company that sold weapons internationaly and believed ‎that the treatment given before the arrest was also legal. ‎ The Syrian citizen who claimed he was unaware that the weapons were for the FARC ‎because "had he of known, he would have reported them immediately," he explained in ‎‎2007 in Spain, where he even said to have consulted with a police inspector, who he ‎claims told him that there was no problem. ‎ As part of the extradition process, the U.S. assured the Spanish government would not ‎ask for life imprisonment for the Syrian businessman. ‎ Before his extradition, Al Kassar asked not to be handed over because he was convinced ‎that the United States would not guarantee a fair trial "for being Arab." ‎ He maintains he did not commit "any crime" and calls it "political revenge" because of ‎statements he made in an interview criticizing U.S. president George W. Bush. ‎ In Argentina, Al Kassar was accused of committing irregularities in the processing and ‎acquisition of that country’s citizenship, which he obtained in just 24 hours. ‎ The Manhattan federal prosecutor, Lev Dassin, thanked the collaboration and cooperation ‎of the Spanish police and Romanian Customs authorities rendered to the U.S. authorities ‎in this case.‎
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