Underwear bomber gets multiple life sentences for attempting to blow up Detroit-bound airplane

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Calling the attempted Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a Northwest airliner "an act of terrorism that cannot be quibbled with," Federal Court Judge Nancy Edmunds has sentenced Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Edmunds sentenced Abdulmutallab to four consecutive life sentences, plus 50 years.

The sentencing came after a defiant Abdulmutallab addressed the court during his sentencing for his attempt to detonate a bomb in his underwear as the plane carrying nearly 300 people approached Detroit Metro Airport.

When Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate the bomb it caught fire, but did not go off. It was later determined that the bomb contained the high explosives PETN and TATP.

Abdulmutallab told the court that his life and the lives of Muslims have changed and that he is proud to kill in the name of God.

He also said that al Qaeda leaders shall be victorious. "Today is a day of victory and God is great," Abdulmutallab said to the court.

He also said that acts similar to his attempt to blow up an airliner will continue until the "righteous servants of Allah inherit the world." His family issued a statement. You can see their complete statement below.

After the sentencing, US Attorney Barbara L. McQuade told reporters, "The only thing that prevented the defendant from being successful that day was his own bad luck".

Federal prosecutors say a glitch with Abdulmutallab's underwear device prevented the explosion he had hoped would bring down the plane.

"He's miserable. How can you kill people in the name of God? It doesn't make sense to me", said Theophilus Marango, an attorney from New York who flew to Detroit to speak at Thursday's hearing.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors showed a video of what a bomb similar in composition to the one Abdulmutallab had in his possession would do if detonated.


Abdulmutallab pleaded guilty in October 2011 to all 8 counts he was facing.

On Friday, a defense attorney designated to assist Abdulmutallab is expected to file a motion appealing the sentence handed down to the native of Nigeria.

A short time ago the Justice Department released statement from Attorney General Eric Holder and US Attorney for the Easter District Of Michigan Barbara McQuade.

"As this investigation and prosecution have shown, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is a remorseless terrorist who believes it is his duty to kill Americans.  For attempting to take the lives of 289 innocent people, he has been appropriately sentenced to serve every day of the rest of his life in prison," said Attorney General Holder.  "Today's sentence once again underscores the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in both incapacitating terrorists and gathering valuable intelligence from them."

"On behalf of the victims, we are gratified that this al-Qaeda terrorist has been defeated and will spend the rest of his life in prison, where he can never hurt innocent civilians again," U.S. Attorney McQuade said.  "I am very proud of the work of our prosecutors and agents in Detroit.  Their work shows that the civilian court system is a valuable mechanism for obtaining intelligence and convicting terrorists with the legal certainty and transparency that instills public confidence in American justice."

290 people were on board the plane at the time of the attempted bombing. A number of passengers were in court on Thursday to give victim impact statements.

Alain Ghonda, a passenger from Silver Springs, Maryland, spoke before the hearing.

"After having that experience, you do not know who's sitting next to you," Ghonda said. "They may look like passengers, but they might want to harm you."


Statement from family of 'Underwear Bomber' Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

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