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Abu Ali :Son of Saudi embassy employee raised in U.S. sentenced to 30 years for plotting to kill Bush

March 30, 2006

Thu 30 Mar 2006

US-raised Muslim gets 30 years for plot to kill Bush


AN AMERICAN Muslim was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in prison for joining al-Qaeda and plotting to assassinate the president, George Bush.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a 25-year-old US citizen who was born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church, Virginia, faced a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars.

He was convicted in November of conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaeda, among other crimes.

Jurors in the three-week trial saw a videotaped confession Abu Ali gave to the Saudis in which he said he joined al-Qaeda because he hated the US for its support of Israel.

Notes taken by Saudi interrogators showed that he discussed numerous potential terrorist plots, but the one that most appealed to him was killing "the leader of the infidels" - Mr Bush.

Prosecutors had argued for a life sentence.

But US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said 30 years was sufficient punishment. He compared the Abu Ali case to "American Taleban" John Walker Lindh, who received a 20-year sentence.

Abu Ali's actions "did not result in one single actual victim. That fact must be taken into account," Mr Lee said.

Saudi authorities arrested Abu Ali in June 2003 as he was taking final exams at the Islamic University of Medina. Abu Ali confessed that he joined al-Qaeda while studying in Saudi Arabia and said he discussed with some of the most senior al-Qaeda members terror plots, including Mr Bush's assassination and plans to establish an al-Qaeda terror cell in the US.

Abu Ali claimed the Saudis had extracted a confession from him through torture, and he argued that the US was complicit in his torture by colluding with the Saudis.

The first phase of the trial in Virginia against Zacarias Moussaoui is coming to a close as the jury retired to consider whether he carries the blame for at least one death on 9/11.

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US man jailed for Bush death plot
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali Prosecutors said Abu Ali was recruited in Saudi Arabia
A US court has sentenced a US citizen convicted of plotting to kill President George W Bush and conspiring to support al-Qaeda to 30 years in jail.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 25, was found guilty on all nine counts in November, including conspiracy to hijack a plane.

The Arab-American student was held in Saudi Arabia in 2003 and reportedly confessed to membership of al-Qaeda.

His defence team said he was tortured and forced to confess, but the judge refused to disallow the confession.

"The court is sentencing you to 360 months, which is 30 years in prison," said US District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Virginia.

Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, but Judge Lee said that Abu Ali's actions "did not result in one single actual victim" and no weapons were found in his possession.

"That fact must be taken into account," the judge said.

Torture claims

Abu Ali was detained in Saudi Arabia in June 2003 and held there until February 2005, when he was returned to the US and charged.

Prosecutors alleged that he aimed to establish an al-Qaeda cell similar to the one that carried out the 11 September 2001 attacks.

The charges said Abu Ali would shoot Mr Bush on the street or detonate a car bomb.

Prosecutors said that he made contact with al-Qaeda while studying at university in Medina, Saudi Arabia, in 2001.

In Saudi Arabia, he signed confessions and made statements admitting to the plot against Mr Bush and to having ties to an al-Qaeda cell.

But in court he pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying he made up the confessions after being tortured by Saudi authorities.

Prosecutors denied he was mistreated.

Abu Ali was born in Houston and raised in Falls Church, Virginia.

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