‘Underwear Bomber’ Appeals Life Sentence
DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – One day after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the so-called “underwear bomber” is appealing.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty four months ago to all charges related to the attempt to blow up a jetliner with a bomb hidden in his underwear on Christmas Day 2009. Had the device not fizzled, the nearly 300 people aboard the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight would probably have been killed.
(The FBI has released a video that they say demonstrates what would have happened if the bomb went off. View it here.)
Anthony Chambers, an attorney assigned to help Abdulmutallab, said a mandatory life sentence was cruel and unconstitutional punishment for a crime that didn’t physically hurt anyone except Abdulmutallab. In reply, the government said there was plenty of hurt. ”Unsuccessful terrorist attacks still engender fear in the broader public, which, after all, is one of their main objectives,” prosecutors said in a court filing before sentencing.
In October, Abdulmutallab said the bomb in his underwear was a “blessed weapon” to avenge poorly treated Muslims around the world.
Abdulmutallab, 25, talked freely to the FBI about his desire to commit martyrdom for his Islamic faith. In 2009, months before the attack, he traveled to Yemen in a desperate bid to see Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and one of the best-known al-Qaida figures, according to the government. He told investigators that his mission was approved after a three-day visit with his mentor.
Speaking before sentencing on Thursday, Abdulmutallab seemed to relish the mandatory sentence and defended his actions as rooted in the Muslim holy book, the Quran. He read a statement saying, in part,”Mujahedeen are proud to kill in the name of God. Today is a day of victory.”
An email seeking comment about the appeal was sent Friday to a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Detroit.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)