A man convicted of leading a plot inspired by ISIS to behead a conservative American blogger has been sentenced to 28 years in prison.
The plot that targeted Pamela Geller, an anti-Shariah campaigner, was uncovered by authorities after she held an event in Texas featuring drawings of Muhammad that was attacked by two ISIS-inspired terrorists.
David Wright, 28, was sentenced by a judge in federal court in Boston, reported the Washington Examiner.
Geller said in a statement the sentence is too soft, insisting he should have been given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
“Not only did … Wright target me for a brutal, cruel and violent death, but there has been no indication that he has given up these beliefs, and they will only be reinforced while he is in prison, due to a prison system that is rife with jihad recruitment that prison officials are unable or unwilling to do anything about,” she wrote.
“There is no indication that once he is released from prison at any time in the future, that he would not resume his quest to kill me. He should have been given, as I requested, the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. This sentence sends the message to thousands of others like [him] that they can plot freely to murder those who say things that offend their evil ideology, and the consequences will be slight.”
Jurors convicted Wright in October of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism and other crimes.
Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence.
But the convict’s lawyers claimed he didn’t really support ISIS and was living in a fantasy world.
Prosecutors argued Wright was the ringleader of the conspiracy and recruited his uncle, Ussamah Rahim of Boston, and another man, Nicholas Rovinski of Warwick, Rhode Island, to help him carry out attacks.
The plot was never carried out, after Wright’s uncle told him on a recorded phone call that he decided to go after “those boys in blue” instead.
The uncle was fatally shot by police in Boston.
Prosecutors described how Wright collected gruesome ISIS videos, and they accused him of trying to “deceive” the court into believing his intentions were benign.
Wright claimed during the trial he shared ISIS propaganda because he was desperate for attention and an escape.
Shortly after the conclusion of Geller’s “draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas, in May 2015, two Muslim terrorists attempted to breach the venue and kill participants were shot to death by police.
In an commentary shortly after contest, Geller warned that the attempted attack confirmed the presence of ISIS in the U.S. – “down your block, perhaps.”
“This is not about me,” she explained. “This is about whether the U.S. will stand for freedom or submit and cower before violent intimidation. They targeted me for violating Shariah blasphemy laws. They mean to kill everyone who doesn’t do their bidding and abide by them voluntarily.”
The following is Geller’s full statement, which she read Tuesday at Wright’s sentencing:
It is impossible to overstate the devastation that Daoud Wright has brought to my life and that of members of my family. Not only did he target me for a brutal, cruel and violent death, but he targeted family members, and this will not even be over with his sentencing.
Daoud Wright wanted to kill me over my First Amendment right, free speech – speech he was indoctrinated to think was an immense evil by his violent and absolutist belief system and ideology. There has been no indication that he has given up these beliefs. If he says he has, his sincerity cannot be taken for granted, as deception is part of his twisted beliefs. Thus, there is no assurance that anyone can possibly give me that if he is released from prison at any time in the future, that he would not resume his quest to kill me and my relatives.
Therefore, Daoud Wright should be given the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Not only has Daoud Wright made it impossible for me to live a normal life. Not only has he forced me to spend tens of thousands of dollars on security measures in my home, guards when I appear in public, and numerous other precautions. He terrorized our lives. He has caused me and my relatives physical and emotional distress, as well as the crippling financial costs required as a result of his mass murder plot.
All that is bad enough, but there is more. This will never end for me, and so it should never end for Daoud Wright.
If he gets out, my family members and I will be in new danger. If he doesn’t get out, others who share his violent creed could easily decide to take up where he left off, and finish the job he was not able to finish. Wright could even incite them and encourage them from prison.
All this has happened to me because I dared to stand up for the freedom of speech against violent intimidation. I urge the court to do the same thing: to show that the court is aware that the freedom of speech is the foundation of every free society, and that we take violent acts intended to suppress speech not just as the crime of one or two or three individuals, but as a challenge to the very foundations of our society and to basic principles of human rights.
Giving a lighter sentence to Daoud Wright would send the message to thousands of others like them that they can plot freely to murder those who say things that offend their evil ideology, and the consequences will be slight.
Please send the opposite message. Let Daoud Wright and those who think like him know that if they plot to kill Americans for the crime of speaking out against injustice, we will just speak out all the more – and they will pay the full price for their crimes. Thank you.