General — 24 November 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Belmopan businessman JahanAbadi sentenced to 6 years for abetment to murder

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Nov. 20, 2018– Belmopan businessman JahanAbadi, who was indicted in January 2016 for abetment to murder by solicitation, was convicted on the indictment and sentenced to serve 6 years in prison. Supreme Court Justice Antoinette Moore imposed the sentence after she found Abadi guilty in a trial without jury.

In January 2016, Bradley Paumen and others, including JahanAbadi, were charged for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, after they allegedly planted a firearm and ammunition in Michael Modiri’s vehicle. Modiri and Paumen have had a longstanding feud over some properties the two neighbors own in Frank’s Eddy, Cayo District.

The evidence that emerged during Abadi’s trial appeared to indicate that the businessman not only attempted to get Modiri ensnared in the criminal justice system, but he also attempted to hire someone to kill him.

The evidence against Abadi was led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, in the case which began on July 18.

As it turned out, Abadi’s would-be hit man turned out to be a serving member of the Belize Police Department who took the witness stand and gave evidence against him.

The police officer testified that on August 9, 2015, Abadi approached him and asked if he could kill Modiri, or if he was unable to do so, if he could find someone who could do the job, for which a payment of $3,000 would be given.

On the same day that he was approached with the job offer to kill Modiri, the officer said he alerted a retired police officer who was working with Modiri about the plot.

The officer told the court that Abadi approached him a second time, a few weeks after he had made the initial offer. This time Abadi went to his home, and the officer made a recording of the conversation which centered around the cost of hiring someone to carry out the hit. Abadi even suggested some of the ways in which the hit could be carried out.

Modiri was to be executed in a hit which was supposed to be staged to make it appear that it was a robbery; failing that, Abadi suggested that the hit could be accomplished when Modiri was reporting to the police station on a Friday.

The retired police officer reported the matter to the police and an investigation ensued that led to the arrest of Abadi.

DPP Vidal was able to get the recording that the police officer made of the conversation between himself and Abadi, admitted into the evidence against him.

For his defense, Abadi relied on his daughter who had provided an alibi for him and attempted to convince the court that these negotiations to arrange a murder, never occurred.

On September 28, Justice Moore found Abadi guilty of abetment to murder as charged and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for last Friday, November 16.

Abadi told the court that he was sorry for attempting to hire the officer to kill Modiri.

Abadi was represented by attorney Arthur Saldivar, who has indicated that he will appeal the conviction and sentence. Attorney Anthony Sylvestre appeared along with Saldivar at the sentencing hearing.

Bradley Paumen, who is facing an indictment for perverting the course of justice, is expected to go on trial in the January session of the court.

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Deshawn Swasey

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