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US Al-Qaida Member Sentenced to Life for Bush Plot

A U.S. court has sentenced an American al-Qaida member to life in prison for plotting to assassinate then-President George W. Bush in 2003.

A judge in the eastern U.S. state of Virginia had originally sentenced Ahmed Omar Abu Ali to a 30-year prison term. But a higher court ruled the punishment was too lenient and sent the case back for re-sentencing.

The U.S.-born Abu Ali was convicted in 2005 of involvement in an al-Qaida plot to kill Mr. Bush and carry out other terrorist acts. Prosecutors said the 28-year-old joined al-Qaida while studying in Saudi Arabia in 2002.

Saudi authorities detained Abu Ali in 2003 in a crackdown on militants and jailed him for 20 months before extraditing him to the United States.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said Monday he increased Abu Ali's sentence to a life term because of his refusal to renounce terrorism and the risk he would pose to the public if released.

Abu Ali says Saudi authorities tortured him into confessing. Judge Lee, a jury and an appeals court all rejected the claim.

In a brief statement to the court Monday, Abu Ali said Judge Lee would have to appear one day before a divine tribunal. Abu Ali said that if the judge was comfortable with such a prospect, he could impose any sentence he desired.

Abu Ali was raised in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia. His parents attended Monday's sentencing but made no comment.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP.