This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/872

Ahmed Ressam terrorist who wanted to bomb LA Airport sentenced to 22 years in prison

July 27, 2005

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4722409.stm

'Millennium bomber' gets 22 years
Ahmed Ressam Ressam was convicted of plotting to blow up LA airport five years ago
Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian man convicted of plotting to blow up Los Angeles airport five years ago, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Ressam was arrested as he crossed the US-Canadian border with explosives on the eve of the new millennium.

He was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and smuggling explosives, but was not sentenced because he was helping the authorities.

He stopped co-operating in 2003 after being placed in solitary confinement.

Information

Ressam was arrested by US customs in December 1999 as he crossed by ferry from British Columbia on Canada's west coast into the US.

Officers found bomb-making materials in the boot of his car.

After his arrest, Mr Ressam reportedly helped the US authorities identify more than 100 people with alleged links to al-Qaeda.

He also provided information about the network's training camps in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors had hoped he could help in the extradition of two suspected al-Qaeda members, one of whom is currently in Britain, the other in Canada, says the BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles.

But he withdrew his co-operation after being placed in solitary confinement and the efforts to extradite the two men foundered, our correspondent says.

Ressam had been denied asylum by Canada, but had nevertheless managed to continue to live in Montreal for seven years.


Significant events in the Ahmed Ressam case


Associated Press

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/12238941.htm

Significant events in the Ahmed Ressam case:

_Dec. 14, 1999: Ressam arrested in Port Angeles after entering the United States on a ferry from Canada. Border agents say he fled when questioned about materials in the trunk of his rental car, later determined to be nitroglycerin and other bomb-making components. Ressam pleads not guilty to a federal indictment that includes charges of bringing explosives to the country in an alleged plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millenium.

_March 2000: A federal judge orders Ressam's trial moved to Los Angeles, agreeing that publicity has jeopardized his chances for a fair trial in Seattle.

_April 2001: Ressam is convicted of nine criminal counts, including terrorism and explosives charges. He faces a maximum penalty of 65 years to life - well above the 25-year sentence he was offered in exchange for a guilty plea. On the same day in Paris, a French court convicts and sentences Ressam in absentia for belonging to a support network for Islamic militants.

_June 2001: Ressam signs a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, promising "to say everything I've done and about the people I know in terrorism." He is offered a 27-year sentence in exchange for his cooperation.

_July 2001: Testifying in the trial of alleged accomplice Mokhtar Haouari, Ressam says he planned the bombing to fulfill a religious edict to attack Americans around the world just before the millennium. Haouari is later convicted.

_September 2001: Ressam is questioned by FBI officials about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

_February 2003: U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour agrees to delay Ressam's sentencing, noting his "rather startlingly helpful information to the government." However, Ressam stops cooperating early in 2003.

_April 2005: Initial sentencing hearing for Ressam. Federal prosecutors recommend 35 years, saying Ressam's reticence will force them to drop charges against two of his co-conspirators. Reesam's lawyers recommend 12 1/2 years, citing the help he did provide. Coughenour delays the sentencing, telling Ressam he has three months to resume cooperating.

_July 27, 2005: Coughenour sentences Ressam to 22 years, saying the case shows federal courts "can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections."

-----------------------------------------------------

First the judge in the Van Gogh murder trial says he regrets having no choice but the mete out the maximum sentence to a terrorist and now the judge in Ressam's case is falling all over himself to tell 'the world' how fair the trial was and what a hard time he had with the sentencing. He then blasts 'those who believe that (terrorism) renders our Constitution obsolete" in an apparent reference to the Patriot Act and the Bush administration.

There is something very disturbing about the fact that the judge has now set himself up at an in house 'human rights watch' and is acting as if his court was on trial in front of the world. It is particularly unsettling that he praises Ressam's 'cooperation' without noting that terrorism suspect is going free as a result of his refusal to testify. In addition Ressam received leniency as a result of his self serving 'cooperation' which 'terminated prematurely'.

Then he ends with this dramatic flourish, intimating that he is one of the last people on earth to be upholding the Constitution.

"...The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

"Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

"It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess..."

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/printer/ap.asp?category=6420&slug=WA%20Millennium%20Terror%20Judge

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 Last updated 10:57 a.m. PT

Judge's comments in Ressam sentencing

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour's comments during Wednesday's sentencing hearing for Ahmed Ressam, as provided by court officials.

Ressam, an Algerian national, was sentenced to 22 years for plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on the eve of the millennium.

---

"Okay. Let me say a few things. First of all, it will come as no surprise to anybody that this sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any other sentencing that I've had in the 24 years I've been on the bench.

"I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties' positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely.

"The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is twofold:

"First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

"Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

"I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

"Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.

"Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.

"The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

"Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.

"It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend it .

-----------

http://www.kesq.com/Global/story.asp?S=3647894

SEATTLE U-S Attorney John McKay in Seattle says prosecutions against two people who could be dangerous will not go ahead without the cooperation of convicted terrorist Ahmed Ressam (AH'-med res-AHM').

Ressam was sentenced today to 22 years in prison for plotting to bomb the L-A Airport and was given credit for information he provided up until a couple of years ago.

Without his testimony, McKay say prosecutors will not be able to bring the cases against the men (Samir Ait Mohamed and Abu Doha) who are held for extradition from Canada and Britain.

McKay says "We're left wondering what else" Ressam knew.

At a news conference today, McKay dismissed claims that Ressam stopped cooperating because he was mistreated in confinement.

McKay called that "ridiculous and overstated."

(Northwest Cable News)

This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/872