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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Al Qaeda plotter gets new sentence

July 28, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A Falls Church, Va., man was resentenced to life in prison for plotting to kill President George W. Bush by a judge who said his release would threaten "the safety of the American citizenry."

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was originally given a 30-year prison term after being convicted in 2005 of joining an Al Qaeda conspiracy to mount a series of attacks and assassinations in the United States. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction last year but sent the case back for resentencing, indicating that the sentence should have been more severe.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Va., obliged, saying that although he "begged to differ" with some aspects of the appeals court decision, he had concluded that the risk of releasing Abu Ali was too great.

"I cannot put the safety of the American citizenry at risk," he said, citing Abu Ali's "unwillingness to renounce the beliefs that led to his terrorist activities."

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