Underwear Bomber Sentenced to Consecutive Life Terms
As expected, a federal judge in Detroit today sentenced Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, aka the Underwear Bomber and Captain Underpants, to life in prison for his failed attempt to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight en route to Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. Since the federal system has no parole, a life sentence means exactly that.
“The defendant has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission... “To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission.” [Judge Nancy Edmonds] said she can't control his motives, but she can control his opportunity.
She ordered the life sentences to be served consecutively. As he was led out of the courtroom, he said, "G-d is Great."
In Abdulmutallab's statement to the Court, he ranted against Jews (see below for quotes): [More...]
Abdulmutallab, who represented himself at trial with the assistance of standby counsel, changed his plea to guilty the day after the trial began. He pleaded guilty to all counts in the Indictment, including 3 that carried a mandatory life sentence. The Judge today rejected his standby counsel's motion to find the statutes in these counts unconstitutional as cruel and unusual punishment. She also rejected a constitutional challenge based on a Commerce Clause argument.
The judge did grant the defense motion to exclude the report of the Government's proposed expert on martyrdom and suicide bombings, finding it admissible but cumulative. I detailed the report, authored by Simon Perry, a criminologist from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, here. She also allowed the Government to present a simulation of the potential effect of Abdulmutallab's explosive device, finding it demonstrated the seriousness of the charges.
The judge granted several passengers on the flight five minutes to speak. One, Theophilus Maranga, a lawyer who has since sued Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM for $10 million, in part for injuries he alleges he sustained in subduing Abdulmutallab, said he remains afraid to fly.
Lamare Mason, a flight attendant who helped extinguish the flames from the failed device, said Abdulmutallab robbed him of the pleasure of going to work.
Another passenger gave his lawyer a rosary to hand to Abdulmutallab.
Passenger Kurt Haskell, a lawyer who has advanced a conspiracy theory since the day of the attack and upset no one would pay attention to it, today said "Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. agent… to stage a false terrorist attack to be used to implement various government policies." He told Umar he was not a martyr but "a government patsy." He and his wife asked the Judge to impose a life sentence.
Abdulmutallab exercised his right to allocution. Via Click on Detroit News, he ranted against Jews:
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was hard to understand, but started out saying in the name of Allah, all praise to Allah. He ranted about how his life and the lives of Muslims have also changed. That Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists the US Government says have been killed ARE ALIVE. He said God is severe in punishment and that’s why there is Heaven and Hell. God told us what to do in the Koran. He said today is a day of victory. God is great. He lashed out at Jews, naming the US Attorneys on his case by name saying they intentionally misquoted and mishandled the case “to achieve their Hebrew goals.” He said the Jews need to be “ripped out of Palestine…the Capital of the Muslim world.”
He also denied being a "government patty." (He meant "patsy.") The Judge then imposed sentence.
On the day Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty, Attorney General Eric Holder issued this statement:
“Contrary to what some have claimed, today’s plea removes any doubt that our courts are one of the most effective tools we have to fight terrorism and keep the American people safe. Our priority in this case was to ensure that we arrested a man who tried to do us harm, that we collected actionable intelligence from him and that we prosecuted him in a way that was consistent with the rule of law.
Abdulmutallab's parents, siblings and other relatives flew to Detroit from Nigeria for the sentencing but ended up not attending because Umar didn't want them there. (There are also reports he refused their visit at the jail.) They are said to be devastated by his crime.
Also good coverage of the hearing: Twitter feed of Detroit News reporter Robert Snell.
Abdulmutallab is expected to shortly be transferred to Supermax in Florence, Colorado.
Update: Here's the video of Abdulmutallab at training camp.
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