Canadian Qaeda bomb plotter gets life in U.S. prison

Fri Jan 18, 2008 5:31pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A Canadian who admitted plotting to bomb U.S. embassies in Singapore and the Philippines was sentenced to life in prison on Friday after telling the court he had been "brainwashed" by al Qaeda.

Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a Canadian citizen of Iraqi descent, was sentenced by a federal judge after pleading guilty in July 2002 for his role in the disrupted bomb plots on orders from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He initially cooperated with U.S. authorities but the relationship soured and he grew to mistrust them during four years he was held in prison.

He was sentenced without a trial, based on his initial guilty plea and court documents on the secret case were only unsealed shortly before the sentencing.

"I do not believe in terrorism, violence and killing," Jabarah, 25, told U.S District Judge Barbara Jones, saying he had been a "naive youth" who was indoctrinated by bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders.

"I was very unfortunately brainwashed," he said. "I was very sadly deceived by them and they exploited and used me maliciously."

The judge, noting that "actions speak louder than words," said although Jabarah had denounced al Qaeda and terrorism, he was the moving force in the embassy plots.

"That was a decision that had to be made knowingly and willfully and cannot be mitigated" by arguing "you were duped into believing somehow killing innocent people could be right," she said.   Continued...

<p>Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda (R), who is also the head of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, delivers a speech at the party annual convention in Tokyo January 17, 2008. The Japanese national flag (top L), his party flag (top R) and slogans reading "Fresh Resolve, Further Challenge" are seen behind him. REUTERS/Issei Kato</p>