‘Underwear bomber’ sentenced to life in prison
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was sentenced to life in prison for the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas day 2009, the Justice Department announced last week.
Abdulmutallab, dubbed the “underwear bomber,” pled guilty to all eight counts against him, include conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, attempted murder, and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. The 25-year-old Nigerian man admitted to detonating an explosive device hidden in his underwear onboard the Amsterdam-Detroit flight.
Luckily, the bomb – made of powerful explosives Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate (PETN) and Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) – failed to detonate properly, and the passengers and flight crew were able to extinguish the fire and restrain Abdulmutallab until the plane landed safely in Detroit.
Abdulmutallab suffered burns from the blast and was promptly treated at U of M Hospital, where he was questioned by the FBI. During questioning, Abdulmutallab proclaimed that the attempted bombing was part of Al Qaeda’s jihad – or holy war – against the United States. According to the federal indictment, Abdulmutallab was trained and provided the explosives by Al Qaeda in Yemen that summer.
Abdulmutallab expressed no remorse for his actions, saying that “participation in jihad against the United States is considered among the most virtuous of deeds in Islam and is highly encouraged in the Koran.”
“As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans. For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Tukel, Cathleen M. Corken and Michael C. Martin and overseen by Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
- Justice.gov: Abdulmutallab’s sentencing memorandum filed on Feb. 10, 2012 (PDF)
- Justice.gov: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab Sentenced to Life in Prison for Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009
- Justice.gov: Video exhibit of the PETN explosion
- MIED.USCourts.gov: Indictment against Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (PDF)
- MIED.USCourts.gov: USA v. Abdulmutallab
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Abdulmutallab’s life sentence underscores the effectiveness of federal courts in terrorism cases