Confessed crotch bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is contesting his compulsory life in prison sentence, arguing in court documents filed a few days ago that life sentence is “cruel and unusual punishment” and illegitimate. Abdulmutallab, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday, is facing an obligatory life in prison sentence after pleading guilty in October to trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with almost 300 passengers with a bomb hidden in his underwear. He pleaded guilty to several criminal charges, including trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, and conspiracy to commit terrorism.
The plot was foiled when his bomb malfunctioned and could not explode properly.
Abdulmutallab wrote in court documents that, “Given the circumstances and what did NOT occur in the instant matter it is fair to say that the mandatory minimum sentence of life is excessive and grossly disproportionate to the conduct.”. “Aside from the defendant no passengers suffered any serious injuries and there were no casualties.”
The government strongly disagrees and has asked the U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds to make sure Abdulmutallab receives the maximum punishment of compulsory life in prison.
“Defendant is an unrepentant, would-be mass murderer, who views his crimes as divinely inspired and blessed, and who views himself as under a continuing obligation to carry out such crimes,” prosecutors wrote on Friday in a sentencing memo. “He attempted to murder 289 individuals, no sentence other than life … Could possibly reflect the seriousness of defendant’s conduct.”
In pushing for a stiff sentence, the government also disclosed on Friday details about Abdulmutallab’s relationship with a well-known al-Qaida figure.
According to court documents, Abdulmutallab spent months pursuing American-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, where the two men eventually met and hatched out a plan to blow up an American airliner over U.S. soil on Christmas Day 2009. In the weeks prior to the attempted bombing, the two exchanged text messages, discussed briefly on the phone and ended up spending three days together at al-Awlaki’s house arranging the attack, the government wrote in court documents.
According to court documents, Al-Awlaki ultimately steered Abdulmutallab to a bomb maker, who trained the Nigerian defendant on how to flare up the bomb. It was Al-Awlaki, the government says, who ultimately approved the martyrdom mission.
As stated by courts documents written by prosecutors, “Awlaki’s last instructions to him were to wait until the airplane was over the United States and then to take the plane down.”
Court documents stated that Abdulmutallab made open the details of his relationship with Al-Awlaki in statements he gave to the FBI in 2010.
Al-Awlaki, who had become a leading al-Qaida figure in Yemen, was killed in a U.S. drone attack last year.
Documents from the court show that, Abdulmutallab spent several years following the online teachings of Al-Awlaki. In 2009, he left Dubai, where he had been undergoing graduate classes, and travelled to Yemen with the expectations of finding his mentor and becoming actively involved in jihad, the government wrote.
Records showed that once in Yemen, Abdulmutallab visited mosques and asked locals if they had any idea of how he could get in contact with Awlaki. He finally met someone with a connection: the individual took Abdulmutallab’s cell phone number and gave it to Awlaki, who texted him shortly after.
Records showed that the two men ultimately met. Furthermore, Abdulmutallab succeeded in selling himself as an ideal candidate for a martyrdom mission, and a bomb maker was sent for.
According to documented information, for a period of two weeks, Abdulmutallab trained in a camp, where he received weapons instructions and indoctrination in jihad, records show. The bomb maker eventually delivered the bomb to Abdulmutallab and showed him how to use it.
The plot was unsuccessful.
The bomb fizzled in Abdulmutallab’s crotch. Abdulmutallab, whose genitalia and legs were burned in the mission, pleaded guilty to all the charges.
In the middle of trial, just after a jury had been seated, he said: “participation in jihad against the United States is considered among the most virtuous of deeds in Islam and is highly encouraged in the Koran.” He went on to call his bomb, “a blessed weapon.
Source: Detroit Free Press.