By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
An American Muslim student was convicted of joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, after jurors rejected his claim that Saudi security officers had tortured him into making a false confession.
The jury in US District Court convicted Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 24, of Falls Church, Virginia, on all nine counts after 2 1/2 days of deliberation. The charges include conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing material support to al-Qaida.
The charges carry a possibility of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years, prosecutors said. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17.
Abu Ali's lawyer, Khurrum Wahid, said he will appeal.
Abu Ali's parents, who were born in Jordan and live in Falls Church, had fought to have him returned to the United States during the 20 months he was held in Saudi custody after his June 2003 arrest. The family even filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking his return. That lawsuit was rendered moot in February when Abu Ali was returned to the United States to face charges.