Thursday, July 28, 2005

'Millennium bomber' gets 22 years

'Millennium bomber' gets 22 years

Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian man convicted of plotting to blow up Los Angeles airport five years ago, has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Ressam was arrested as he crossed the US-Canadian border with explosives on the eve of the new millennium.

He was convicted in 2001 of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and smuggling explosives, but was not sentenced because he was helping the authorities.

He stopped co-operating in 2003 after being placed in solitary confinement.


Ressam was arrested by US customs in December 1999 as he crossed by ferry from British Columbia on Canada's west coast into the US.

Officers found bomb-making materials in the boot of his car.

After his arrest, Mr Ressam reportedly helped the US authorities identify more than 100 people with alleged links to al-Qaeda.

He also provided information about the network's training camps in Afghanistan.

Prosecutors had hoped he could help in the extradition of two suspected al-Qaeda members, one of whom is currently in Britain, the other in Canada, says the BBC's David Willis in Los Angeles.

But he withdrew his co-operation after being placed in solitary confinement and the efforts to extradite the two men foundered, our correspondent says.

Ressam had been denied asylum by Canada, but had nevertheless managed to continue to live in Montreal for seven years.

Story from BBC NEWS: