Photo by Vera Sadock/AFP/Getty Images.
UPDATE: The Nigerian terrorist who was dubbed the "underwear bomber" for his failed bid to take down an international flight over Detroit on Christmas 2009 was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Associated Press reports that the mandatory punishment for Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab "was never in doubt" after the Nigerian pleaded guilty in October to all eight charges he faced, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
The sentence was announced by a federal judge in a crowded courtroom that included several passengers from the Northwest Airlines flight that Abdulmutallab attempted to bring down on behalf of al-Qaida.
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011: Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called “underwear bomber,” surprised a federal courtroom on Wednesday by pleading guilty to all charges against him.
"I intended to wreck a U.S. aircraft for the U.S. wreckage of Muslim lands and property," Abdulmutallab told the court on the second day of his high-profile terrorism trial, the Associated Press reports.
The Nigerian pleaded guilty to all eight charges he faced, including conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. He told the Detroit courtroom that the bomb that he had hidden in his underwear while onboard an international flight on Christmas 2009 was a "blessed weapon to save the lives of innocent Muslims."
The bomb malfunctioned, and passengers onboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit jumped on him when they saw smoke and fire.
The AP reports that while his admission of guilt was a surprise, Abdulmutallab was going to have his work cut out for him convincing the court of his innocence: "Prosecutors’ evidence was stacked high. Abdulmutallab was badly burned in a plane full of witnesses. The government said he told FBI agents he was working for al-Qaida and directed by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical, American-born Muslim cleric recently killed by the U.S. in Yemen."