Flood Warning issued July 23 at 9:56AM EDT expiring July 24 at 9:56AM EDT in effect for: Pasco
The brother of Sami Osmakac defended his relative Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in downtown Tampa.
Osmakac was convicted in June of federal terrorism charges based on his plan to bomb South Tampa’s bar MacDinton’s, take hostages and attack Tampa Bay bridges.
Avni Osmakac said the FBI unfairly targeted his brother.
"They're looking for people like him that are going through their own issues,” Avni Osmakac said.
According to his brother, Sami Osmakac used to play soccer, go to amusement parks and visit nightclubs before he started showing signs of mental illness in 2009.
His brother said undercover FBI agents railroaded Sami Osmakac into extremist thinking. He claims agents got a hold of him inside a Tampa mosque.
"He would never be able to hurt anybody. He never was a violent person before this or anything,” he said.
Avni Osmakac said his brother’s legal team is appealing his federal conviction. He said the man you see in YouTube videos making anti-American statements was coerced.
"They were showing him videos, web pages, where to go and everything,” he said.
Avni Osmakac made these allegations outside the federal courthouse alongside a group affiliated with www.StopFBI.net. The organization says it crusades against FBI oppression around the country.
"They gave him money to buy their weapons that were all fake and that's the issue. None of these things would have happened if the FBI didn't step in,” said Jared Hamil, an organizer of www.StopFBI.net
The Tampa FBI field office spokesperson declined to speak about the case because of the ongoing appeal.
The FBI credits the Muslim community for helping their investigation and bringing him to justice.