Feb 16, 2012- Farouk Abdulmutallab Sentenced To Life Imprisonment
DETROIT, Michigan: Unrepentant to the last, the Nigerian “underwear bomber” who tried to blow up a packed airliner on Christmas Day 2009 was sentenced to life in prison by a US judge on Thursday. naijagists.com
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, declared he was “proud to kill in the name of God” before being handed a mandatory life sentence for attempting to murder 289 people on board Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines Flight 253.
The failed suicide bomber, wearing a white skull cap and a long, white T-shirt at the sentencing hearing in Detroit, said he was carrying out the work of God against the “oppressors” of Muslims.
“The mujahadeen are proud to kill in the name of God and that is exactly what God told us to do in the Koran,” said the Nigerian, who opted to represent himself in court.
“Today is a day of victory and God is great.”
Abdulmutallab showed no emotion as Judge Nancy Edmunds handed down the maximum sentences for each count.
“The defendant has stated and it is clear that he has enormous motivation to carry out another terrorist attack,” Edmunds said.
“This court has no ability to control the defendant’s motivation, which does appear to be unchanged, however I can control the defendant’s opportunity to carry out those actions.”
US prosecutor Cathleen Corken told the court ahead of sentencing that life in prison was appropriate in the case.
Corken said Abdulmutallab “boarded Flight 253 with a cold-blooded calculated plan to murder everyone on it” and would have carried it out if the bomb had detonated.
The botched attack, which prosecutors say was a plot by slain Al-Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaqi, sparked global alarm and caused the United States to tighten up both its no-fly lists and airport screening systems.
The reputation of the US intelligence services also took a hit because Abdulmutallab’s father, a prominent Nigerian banker, had warned the CIA about his son’s growing radicalization.
Despite stringent security measures at airports in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Abdulmutallab managed to smuggle 76 grams of the explosive Pentaerythritol tetranitrate on board the flight from Amsterdam.
Luckily, the bomb hidden in his underwear failed to properly detonate and instead simply caused a fire as the plane began its descent to Detroit.
Passengers and crew members were able to restrain Abdulmutallab and extinguish the blaze, allowing pilots to safely land the plane.
Abdulmutallab’s court-appointed standby counsel filed a motion Monday seeking a lesser sentence with the argument that life in prison is unwarranted because nobody else was actually injured.
But prosecutors argued that the judge must send a strong message to an unrepentant “terrorist” and give him the maximum allowable sentence on all eight counts.
Abdulmutallab, who fired his lawyers and chose to represent himself in the high-profile case, insisted in pleading guilty that his actions were righteous and that the true crime was US foreign policy.
“I am guilty of this count in US law but not in the Koran,” he said in a six-minute speech on the second day of his October trial.
Thursday’s sentencing hearing also gave several of his intended victims the opportunity to weigh in.
“I’ve never been that scared in my life and I hope never to be scared like that again,” said Lori Haskell, one of those on the flight.
“For weeks after the incident I thought I was in a state of shock… I am thankful I’m still alive but what the defendant did caused lifetime harm to me and everyone else on that plane.”
The extent of Awlaqi’s involvement emerged in a prosecution memo filed Friday arguing for a stiff sentence.
Abdulmutallab told investigators that he had been following Awlaqi online for years and travelled to Yemen in August 2009 to seek out the radical US-born cleric.
He was driven through the desert to Awlaqi’s home after tracking down his cell phone number through visits to mosques and then writing to him about his desire to “become involved in jihad,” the memo said.
Abdulmutallab stayed with Awlaqi for three days and was then taken to a bomb-maker after he was accepted for the mission.
He then spent two weeks at a training camp where he “received instruction in weapons and indoctrination in jihad” and then Awlaqi hired a “professional film crew” to shoot Abdulmutallab’s five-minute martyrdom video. -AFP/ac