NEW YORK – A Canadian who admitted plotting to bomb U.S. embassies in Singapore and the Philippines was sentenced to life in prison on Friday.
Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a Canadian citizen of Iraqi descent, was sentenced by a federal judge after pleading guilty in July 2002 for his role in disrupted bomb plots on orders from al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“I do not believe in terrorism, violence and killing,” Jabarah, 25, said in a 20-minute leniency plea to U.S District Judge Barbara Jones, arguing he had been “brainwashed” by Osama bin Laden and top al Qaeda leaders when he agreed to the plot.
“I was very sadly deceived by them and they exploited and used me maliciously.”
But the judge, noting that “actions speak louder than words,” said although Jabarah had denounced al Qaeda and terrorism, he was the moving force in the embassy plots.
“That was a decision that had to be made knowingly and willfully and cannot be mitigated,” she said, by arguing “you were duped into believing somehow killing innocent people could be right.”
Jabarah admitted he swore loyalty in person to bin Laden in May 2001 and was dispatched to carry out attacks. He was arrested in Oman in early 2002 and deported to Canada, where he was held before being transferred to the United States.
Jabarah initially cooperated with U.S. authorities, but prosecutors argued he changed his mind months later after a childhood friend was killed trying to attack U.S. Marines in Kuwait.
They said he then vowed revenge, and planned while in jail to kill FBI agents and prosecutors assigned to his case, hiding knives and bombmaking instructions.