Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with an underwear bomb, said he was was "proud to kill in the name of God" before he was sentenced to multiple life sentences today in a Detroit courtroom.
"Today is a day of victory and God is great," said Abdulmutallab, 25. He also said that al Qaeda would one day be victorious, and that acts like his will continue until "the righteous servants of Allah inherit the world."
"The defendant has never expressed doubt or remorse about his mission," said Judge Nancy Edmunds in imposing four life sentences plus 50 years. "To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathleen Corken had asked Judge Edmunds to impose the maximum sentence allowable for Abdulmutallab's "cold-blooded, calculated plan to kill everyone aboard the plane."
"We ask the court to impose the maximum sentence on each count," said Corken, "to ensure that he never again will have the chance to harm an American citizen."
Earlier, five passengers who had been on flight 253 each got a chance to speak. Shama Chopra of Montreal told Abdulmutallab, "You had no right to take my life," but then handed Abdulmutallab's lawyer a rosary to give to the 25-year-old Nigerian, who is a devout Muslim.
New York immigration lawyer Theophilus Maranga told Abdulmutallab, "My family prays for you." He also told the judge he is now afraid to fly. Maranga is suing Delta Airlines and KLM-Air France for injuries he says he sustained while subduing Abdulmutallab.
Northwest flight attendant Lamare Mason put out the flames ignited by Abdulmutallab's bomb. He told the judge that he wakes up in night sweats, and that Abdulmutallab had robbed him of "the pleasure of going to work." Kurt Haskell, a Michigan lawyer, praised Mason for damping the flames and also criticized what he characterized as lax security that allowed Abdulmutallab to get on the plane. Haskell, who has long promoted a conspiracy theory that asserts the U.S. government was complicit in the attack, repeated his assertion. "I am convinced that Umar was given an intentionally defective bomb by a U.S. agent to stage a false terrorist attack."
Then the federal government showed a 52-second videotape showing the effect of 200 grams of PTN exploding on a sheet of aluminum. The government estimates that Abdulmutallab's original bomb contained at least 200 grams of PETN.
The life sentence was mandatory after Abdulmutallab pled guilty last year to eight charges, including attempted murder, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.
Prosecutors asked for consecutive life terms, calling him "an unrepentant would-be mass murderer who views his crimes as divinely inspired and blessed."
He is expected to be sent to the federal "supermax" pentitentiary in Florence, Colorado. The prison, widely considered the most secure in the U.S., already houses other notorious inmates, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, and 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspirator Ramzi Yousef.
Abdulmutallab refused to see his parents, who traveled to the U.S. and tried to visit him at the federal prison in Milan, Michigan.