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Sentencing Set for Tuesday in Kentucky's First Terrorism Case

Nearly two years after their arrest in Bowling Green, a pair of Iraqi nationals will be sentenced Tuesday on terrorism-related charges.

Prosecutors say Mohanned Shariff Hammadi and Waad Ramadan Alwan came to Bowling Green in 2009 and soon after began trying to send cash and weapons to al-Qaeda in Iraq.  The local case raised many national security issues. 

Although both Alwan and Hammadi had been arrested by Iraq security forces in 2006 they were allowed to enter the U.S. as refugees. That highlighted gaps in the screening process, and there was also a debate about the proper location for the trial of Alwan and Hammadi. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell argued the men were foreign fighters and should be treated as such.

“Get these terrorists out of the civilian system.  Get them out of our backyard.  And give them the justice they deserve," said McConnell.

Against the view of Attorney General Eric Holder, McConnell argued sending the pair to Gitmo would be the only way to assure there wouldn’t be retaliatory attacks in Kentucky.  It became a moot point when Alwan and Hammadi eventually pled guilty.  When both are sentenced Tuesday, they will likely remain behind bars for life.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.