August 29, 2002 at 4:06 PM EST - Updated August 2 at 5:13 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) - A grocer was sentenced on Wednesday to nine years in prison for unsuccessfully plotting to burn down his Cleveland store.
Prosecutors said that Saleh Nawash wanted to stage a fire to look like a hate crime against an Islamic business.
A Cuyahoga County judge also sentenced Nawash's associate, Ahmed Jaffal, of Akron, to eight years in prison for his part in the arson plan and for trying to hire a hitman to kill two business partners.
Nawash pleaded guilty last month to charges of conspiracy, attempted aggravated arson and attempted insurance fraud. Jaffal pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy charges.
The 54-year-old Nawash told the judge on Wednesday that an FBI informant entrapped him into talking about arson. Jaffal in turn blamed Nawash for getting him involved.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)