The CBC News story below makes it sound as if Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy is mentally ill and very, very sorry for what he was plotting. This story, however, gives a different impression:
“Canadian who plotted terror attacks deserves life in prison: U.S. prosecutors,” by Peter Goffin, Canadian Press, March 12, 2018 2:53 pm EDT
American prosecutors are requesting a life sentence for a Canadian man who admitted to plotting terrorist attacks on New York City landmarks at the behest of a high-ranking Islamic State operative.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, a 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., pleaded guilty in October 2016 to planning bombings and mass shootings at Times Square, in subway stations and at concert venues while still a teenager.
With his sentencing scheduled for April 9, American federal prosecutors have asked a judge to send El Bahnasawy to prison for life, in accordance with U.S. guidelines for punishing similar terror offences.
“El Bahnasawy’s willingness to kill innocent civilians and martyr himself for ISIS, his absolute commitment to ISIS at the time of his arrest, and his deeply disturbing conduct since then … powerfully support a single conclusion: the incapacitation of El Bahnasawy should be total and lifelong,” U.S. prosecutor Geoffrey Berman said in a written submission filed to a New York federal court.
El Bahnasawy’s lawyers have requested a sentence “no greater than necessary to comply with (the law),” and suggested he be released from custody in his mid-twenties, “when his cognitive development will be complete.”
El Bahnasawy, a Canadian citizen who emigrated from Kuwait as a child, spent several months in treatment at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto in 2014, court documents show.
In a handwritten letter submitted to the court on March 2, El Bahnasawy apologized for his behaviour and asked for a “second chance,” recounting his years of substance abuse, mental health issues and multiple suicide attempts.
“I want to experience life away from drugs and away from war and violence,” he wrote. “I want a stable life and I want to stop having extreme turns that keep getting me in trouble, like my turn towards drugs or my turn towards jihad.”
But Berman argued in his submission to the court that neither mental illness nor addiction justify, explain or mitigate El Bahnasawy’s criminal actions.
“If anything, El Bahnasawy’s asserted instabilities and addictive tendencies only further underscore the need for a sentence of life imprisonment to protect the public from a future attack or other criminal conduct by El Bahnasawy,” Berman said.
Since being incarcerated in a New York corrections facility, El Bahnasawy has used opioids and marijuana multiple times, and “marked the walls of his prison cell with images and statements expressing his support for ISIS and terrorist attacks, and warning that more attacks were to come,” Berman said in his submission.
One photo of El Bahnasawy’s cell walls submitted to court shows a scrawled list of high-profile terror attacks, including 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing, encircled by what appears to be a heart and the words, “and more coming.”…
Yet his mother says that El Bahnasawy has “experienced [an] unbelievable sense of guilt.” She wouldn’t be lying to us, now, would she?
The parents of a Canadian man convicted of plotting ISIS attacks against busy New York City landmarks say their son was a mentally ill teenager and doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in prison, however horrible his crimes.
Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 20, of Mississauga, Ont., pleaded guilty in October 2016 to conspiring with ISIS operatives in the failed plan to bomb Times Square and the city’s subway system.
At his sentencing hearing in federal court on April 9, U.S. prosecutors will argue for life in prison, but his parents are appealing for a lesser sentence and treatment for their son.
In an exclusive interview with CBC News and the Toronto Star, Khdiga Metwally and Osama El Bahnasawy say they realize the gravity of their son’s crimes.
But both say they firmly believe their son’s history of mental illness and drug addiction made him vulnerable to manipulation — first by ISIS recruiters, and then by the intelligence agents who were tracking him.
“We were struggling for this sick boy, and he [was] struggling for himself,” says Metwally, her voice shaking. “Other people try to manipulate him when he was so isolated on the internet, to do violence.”
El Bahnasawy had no criminal record and no history of violence, his parents say. Court documents report he was “radicalized mostly online by ISIS,” beginning about eight months before his arrest.
He had previously described himself as an atheist, his father says.
“He didn’t even know how to pray.”
‘Please, take the medications’
In the fall of 2015, El Bahnasawy was 17 years old and living at home with his parents in a quiet suburban neighbourhood west of Toronto. He’d been kicked out of Grade 11 for acting out and, unbeknownst to his parents, started spending days at a time in ISIS chat rooms. Soon El Bahnasawy was in contact with a high-level ISIS recruiter and an undercover FBI agent posing as an ISIS agent.
At that time, El Bahnasawy had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been in and out of drug rehab and mental health facilities five times, his parents say. He started complaining that the daily prescription drug regimen that had stabilized his moods was making him drowsy and causing him to gain weight.
“We tried to convince him, ‘Please, take the medications. It’s very important,'” his mother says….
Metwally says her son has “experienced [an] unbelievable sense of guilt” and with good treatment can be rehabilitated.
“We ask for mercy,” his father says.