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Archive for Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Jurors reject torture claim

Student convicted of joining al-Qaida, plotting assassination

November 23, 2005

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— An American Muslim student charged with joining al-Qaida and plotting to assassinate President Bush was convicted Tuesday on all counts.

The federal jury rejected Ahmed Omar Abu Ali's claim that Saudi security officers whipped and tortured him into a false confession.

Abu Ali, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen born to a Jordanian father, could get life in prison on charges that included conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaida. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 17.

The jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days. Abu Ali swallowed hard before the verdict was read but otherwise showed little emotion. He did not testify at his trial.

Abu Ali's lawyer, Khurrum Wahid, said he will appeal.

Jurors saw a videotaped confession in which Abu Ali said he joined al-Qaida because he hated the United States for its support of Israel.

Notes taken by his Saudi interrogators said he discussed numerous potential terror plots, but the one that most appealed to him was killing "the leader of the infidels" - President Bush.

Defense lawyers argued that Abu Ali gave a false confession after being whipped and beaten by a Saudi security force.

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