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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 22:03 GMT
Al-Qaeda plotter gets life in US
US embassy in Singapore (archive)
Jabarah secretly pleaded guilty to the plots in South East Asia in 2002
A Canadian al-Qaeda operative has been sentenced to life in jail by a US court for plotting to bomb the US embassies in Singapore and Manila in 2002.

Mohammed Mansour Jabarah was also found guilty of planning to kill the agents with whom he had agreed to co-operate.

New York judge Barbara Jones said the life sentence was due to the nature of Jabarah's participation in two al-Qaeda conspiracies at the very highest level.

The court case was only made public on Thursday, five years after his capture.

Prosecutors said Jabarah's case was kept secret because he had agreed to provide information about militants after pleading guilty to the embassy plots.

'Exploited'

Jabarah was given life in prison on Friday despite telling the federal court in Manhattan that he had been "brainwashed" by Osama Bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leaders, who he had thought were liberators of oppressed people.

"I do not believe in terrorism, violence and killing," he said.

Actions speak louder than words
Judge Barbara Jones

"I was very sadly deceived by them and they exploited and used me maliciously."

In her ruling, Judge Barbara Jones said she gave Jabarah credit for his repudiation of violence, but could not overlook when sentencing him the fact that he had admitted to being involved in "heinous crimes" at the "very highest level".

"Although you were only 19 or 20 years old... you did participate and really ran - as the emissary of Osama bin Laden - these two operations," she said.

"That was a decision that had to be made knowingly and wilfully and cannot be mitigated," she added.

Informant

Court documents published on Thursday said Jabarah is of Iraqi descent and lived in Kuwait until the age of 12, when his family moved to Canada.

After leaving school in 2001, he travelled to al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, where he met Bin Laden and was commissioned to attack two US embassies in South-East Asia by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, prosecutors said.

Osama Bin Laden. File pic
Jabarah reportedly met Osama Bin Laden in 2001

He had succeeded in purchasing tons of explosives and selecting a suicide bomber when the plots were foiled by a series of arrests in 2002, they added.

After being arrested by Omani intelligence services in 2002, Jabarah was deported to Canada where he was offered a deal by the US that saw him plead guilty to the plots in a closed court session and become an informant.

He was then moved to an FBI housing facility rather than prison, where he lived in relative comfort with a stereo and his own kitchen.

However, prosecutors said his attitude changed following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. A knife and rope were subsequently found hidden in his luggage along with jihadist literature and a list of FBI agents and lawyers assigned to his case, who prosecutors said he was planning to kill.

He was "secretly planning to exploit the perception of co-operation that he created", the prosecution alleged.

After the discovery, Jabarah was transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan, where he was held in solitary confinement for four years.



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