Canadian Al-Qaeda member gets life sentence in embassy bomb plots


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Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, second from right (courtroom drawing)


NEW YORK - A high-level Al-Qaeda associate was sentenced by a New York court Friday to life in prison for plotting to bomb US embassies in Manila and Singapore, in a case shrouded in secrecy since his arrest in 2002.

Mohammed Mansour Jabarah pleaded guilty six years ago to conspiracy to kill US citizens in plots against the two embassies. Prosecutors had requested Jabarah, a Canadian citizen of Iraqi descent, be handed down a life sentence.

The sentence was due to "the nature of your participation in two conspiracies at the very highest level," federal judge Barbara Jones said.

"You have admitted ... that you were involved in heinous crimes. Although you were only 19 or 20 years old ... you did participate and really ran -- as the emissary of Osama bin Laden -- these two operations," the judge said.

"Regardless of whom you may have become today, I must deal with the acts you committed."

She nixed the defendant's request to be released, saying: "You were not incidental to these plots. You were the person sent to Southeast Asia," by Al-Qaeda to carry out the plots.

According to US agents, Jabarah met Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and was sent by Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks, to meet Jemaah Islamiyah figures in Southeast Asia to plan the bombings.

Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed for the 2002 bombings on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, which killed 202 people, mainly foreign tourists.

According to a sentencing memorandum produced by US prosecutors, Jabarah secretly plotted to kill US agents with whom he was supposedly cooperating after his arrest in Oman in 2002.

Jabarah pleaded guilty in July of that year after being brought to the United States and initially cooperating with federal investigators.

But according to the sentencing memorandum, Jabarah was "secretly planning to exploit the perception of cooperation that he created.

"Weapons and papers seized from Jabarah during an impromptu search of his quarters left little doubt that Jabarah was bent on carrying out a martyrdom mission to murder the 'infidel' agents and prosecutors whom he considered responsible for his capture," the memorandum said.

Documents drafted by Jabarah while in jail "demonstrated his commitment to waging jihad against the infidels, killing his captors, and presumably himself," it said.

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