Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nigerian Underwear Bomber Gets Life in Prison

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Nigerian Underwear Bomber Gets Life in Prison

Article excerpt

DETROIT -- Defiantly declaring "a day of victory," a Nigerian man was given a mandatory life sentence Thursday for trying to blow up a packed jetliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear. People aboard the flight testified that the failed attack had disturbed their sleep and travels for more than two years.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was the same remorseless man who four months ago pleaded guilty to all charges related to Northwest Airlines Flight 253. He seemed to relish the mandatory sentence and defended his actions as rooted in the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

"Mujahideen are proud to kill in the name of God," he said. "Today is a day of victory."

Had the bomb not fizzled, nearly 300 people aboard the flight would probably have been killed.

The case stirred renewed fears that terrorists could still bring down an American jetliner more than eight years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and it accelerated installation of body scanners at the nation's airports.

Before Thursday's sentencing, four passengers and a crew member from the flight told U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds that they have struggled to live and travel normally since the incident on Christmas Day 2009.

During their remarks, Mr. Abdulmutallab appeared disinterested, rarely looking up from his seat just a few feet away.

Mr. Abdulmutallab "has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission," Judge Edmunds said. "In contrast, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission."

Life in prison is a "just punishment for what he has done," the judge said. "The defendant poses a significant ongoing threat to the safety of American citizens everywhere."

Mr. Abdulmutallab, the 25-year-old, European-educated son of a wealthy banker, tried to set off the bomb minutes before the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight landed.

The government says he first performed a cleansing ritual in the lavatory -- brushing his teeth and perfuming himself -- then returned to his seat. …

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