Ahmed Ressam, convicted of plotting to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on the last day of 1999, was sentenced to 37 years in prison and five years of supervised release.
The punishment imposed today is the third sentence issued by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour in Seattle after an appeals court ruled the judge’s previous 22-year prison term was too short.
Ressam was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy and carrying explosives and is known as the Millennium Bomber. A native of Algeria, Ressam was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington, in December 1999 as he drove off a ferry from British Columbia, Canada, with a trunk filled with bomb-making materials.
After his conviction, Ressam cooperated with the government for almost two years by providing information about terrorist network al-Qaeda’s recruitment and training activities, according to court filings. Ressam then stopped cooperating and recanted his prior testimony.
“A sentence of 37 years promotes respect for the law by punishing Mr. Ressam for his serious crimes while providing a reward for the cooperation that Mr. Ressam provided,” Coughenour said in today’s sentencing order. “It is no more than what is necessary to account for his recantations.”
Thomas W. Hillier, a federal public defender who represented Ressam, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The case is U.S. v. Ressam, 99-cr-00666, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).
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