Terrorist Sentenced to 37-Year prison Term in ‘Millennium’ Bomb Plot

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 5:10 pm (UTC-5)
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A U.S. federal court has sentenced convicted Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam to a 37-year-prison term for the 1999 New Year's Eve plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.

The court in Seattle, Washington imposed the sentence Wednesday, after prosecutors appealed an earlier 22-year sentence as too lenient.

Prosecutors pushed for stiffer penalties, arguing Ressam continues to pose a threat for reneging on an agreement to provide evidence against other suspects in the bombing plot. After Ressam withdrew his cooperation, federal prosecutors were forced to drop charges against two suspected co-conspirators.

Ressam was arrested in December 1999 as he tried to enter the United States from British Columbia, after customs inspectors noted suspicious behavior at a ferry landing in Port Angeles, Washington.

After Ressam tried to flee, authorities found his rental car packed with enough explosives to produce a blast 40 times greater than a typical car bomb.

A jury convicted him in 2001 on nine felony counts and sentenced him to 22 year in prison in 2005. Prosecutors appealed that sentence after Ressam stopped cooperating in the U.S. probe.

Before reneging on the deal, Ressam was interviewed repeatedly by terror investigators in the United States and Europe. He was credited in a classified FBI report with linking Osama bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah to the airport bombing plot. Zubaydah, captured in Pakistan in 2002, remains in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.