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Man convicted in terror case accused of ordering three beheadings

February 22, 2012|By David Zucchino

Reporting from Durham, N.C. — A North Carolina man convicted on terrorism charges last fall has been indicted in a case accusing him of hiring a hit man to behead three witnesses who had testified against him.

Hysen Sherifi, 27, a naturalized U.S. citizen who emigrated from Kosovo, was indicted Tuesday on nine counts of conspiring with his brother and a female friend to retaliate against the witnesses. Prosecutors have said Sherifi arranged for a $4,250 payment to a "hit man" who was actually an FBI informant.

Authorities said the alleged plot was hatched from prison by Sherifi, who is serving a 45-year sentence for taking part in a plot to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas.

Sherifi’s brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, 21, was given faked photographs by the informant. The images purportedly showed the bloodied corpse of one of the witnesses in a shallow grave, near what appeared to be a severed head, according to prosecutors.

After he was provided with the photos on Jan. 22, Shkumbin Sherifi visited his brother in prison in Wilmington, N.C., to show him the pictures. The younger brother was arrested as he left the prison with the photos.

Also arrested in January was Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 46, a special education teacher in Raleigh, N.C. Authorities accused her of providing a down payment of $750 for the killings while acting as a go-between for the Sherifi brothers.

Elshiekh and Shkumbin Sherifi face additional charges under the indictment. 

Hysen Sherifi was convicted in October after a three-week trial that began just after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Two other Muslim men, both U.S. citizens living in North Carolina, were convicted on terrorism charges in what prosecutors called a case of "homegrown terrorism."

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