Feb. 16 - Judge sentences Nigerian man to life in prison for trying to blow up a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009. Deborah Gembara reports.
The Nigerian man who tried to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day in 2009 was sentenced to life in prison. Twenty-five year old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried but failed to detonate a bomb he had hidden in his underwear, starting a small fire instead as his Delta flight from Amsterdam arived in Detroit. In court in the motor city, he sat impassive as his sentence was read. Given a chance to address the court earlier in the day, Abdulmutallab expressed no remorse, saying he planned to avenge U.S. attacks on Muslims. Passenger Shama Chopra also testified. SOUNDBITE: Passenger Shama Chopra saying: "His parents - they called me from Nigeria, and they apologized. It broke my heart. They said, 'my son was mislead,' and I believe so, but later on we find out that he had been fully trained by Anwar al-Alawki, and he was getting training and everything, but he tried to kill us and somehow he missed it." Prosecutors say Abdulmuttalab was aiming for an explosion of this scale. U.S. Attorney Barbara Mcquade. SOUNDBITE: U.S. Attorney Barbara Mcquade, saying: "Today, in an open courtroom in Detroit, Michigan, a remorseless terrorist has been defeated. We, at the U.S. Attorney's Office are very gratified that the judge imposed the maximum possible sentence of life in prison, in fact I think she gave him four life imprisonment terms, plus 50 years. On behalf of these victims, we heard five of them speak today, we are so gratified that the judge rejected the defense argument that no one was harmed in this case. The message today, I think, as one of the victims so eloquently put it: Al Qaeda has lost, once again. America has won, once again. We always do." Defense Attorney Anthony Chambers says his client will probably appeal the sentence. And as for his state of mind. SOUNDBITE: Defense Attorney Anthony Chambers saying: "I can tell you that he remains strong. I can tell you that he remains upbeat, and there was no surprise for him - and I think he is prepared for what's in front of him." The botched attack prompted U.S. officials to begin using full-body scanners to try and detect explosives. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.