Nigerian 'underwear' bomber sentenced to life in US

Judge sentences Nigerian man to life in prison for trying to blow up a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.

February 17, 2012 12:12
1 minute read.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Underwear bomber 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)

DETROIT - A US federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Nigerian man to life in prison for trying to blow up a American airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underwear.

"This was an act of terrorism that cannot be quibbled with," said US District Judge Nancy Edmunds, who imposed the maximum sentence allowed.

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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 25, showed no emotion when Edmunds pronounced the sentence, sitting with his hands clasped under his chin, elbows resting on the arms of his chair at the defense table.

The bomb caused a fire but failed to explode on a Delta Airlines flight from Amsterdam carrying 289 people on Dec. 25. He was quickly subdued by passengers and crew and the fire extinguished.

Since then, US officials have sought to bolster airport security, deploying full-body scanners to try to detect explosives.

Prosecutors said Abdulmutallab had intended to bring down the jet over US soil and was thwarted only by luck. They showed a 52-second video of the kind of blast that the powerful explosive known as PETN, which Abdulmutallab had in his underwear, could have caused if it had detonated.

Three times during the video, the bomber cried out "God is great" in Arabic.

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