News / USA

Nigerian 'Underwear Bomber' Sentenced to Life

In a courtroom sketch, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is sentenced to life in prison by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmonds in federal court in Detroit, Feb. 16, 2012.
In a courtroom sketch, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is sentenced to life in prison by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmonds in federal court in Detroit, Feb. 16, 2012.

The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a U.S. passenger plane on Christmas Day 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was sentenced Thursday in the U.S. city of Detroit.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called Abdulmutallab a "remorseless terrorist" who deserved to spend "every day of the rest of his life" in prison.  U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said the outcome shows the civilian justice system can be used effectively to obtain intelligence and convict terrorists.

The 25-year-old Nigerian pleaded guilty in October, as his trial was getting under way.  Abdulmutallab had told the court his actions were in retaliation for the killing of what he called innocent Muslims in Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  

Prosecutors say Abdulmutallab wanted to achieve martyrdom by killing all 290 people on board the Northwest Airlines flight as part of an al-Qaida mission.

One of those passengers said she feels the sentence is appropriate.

"His parents - they called me from Nigeria, and they apologized," she said. "It broke my heart.  And they said, 'my son was misled,' and I believe so, but later on we find out that he had been fully trained by Anwar al-Awlaki, and he was getting training and everything, but he tried to kill us and somehow he missed it.  So, in this kind of case, I think justice will be served today, and he will die of imprisonment, and that's what the punishment [will be] for him."

Passengers and crew members subdued Abdulmutallab after he tried to detonate the explosives in his underwear as the plane prepared to land in Detroit.  The explosives caught fire, leaving him with severe burns.

The charges against him included conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for trying to bring down the flight from Amsterdam on December 25, 2009.

Abdulmutallab had made several outbursts during jury selection, proclaiming allegiance to al-Qaida and claiming that Yemen-based radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki is still alive.  The American-born Awlaki was killed last year in Yemen by a U.S. airstrike.

U.S. officials have blamed Abdulmutallab's plot on the Yemen-based branch of al-Qaida.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs