Algerian Found Guilty on Terrorism Charges in US
US Jurors found an Algerian man guilty Friday on nine counts of terrorism for plotting to bomb US sites during the year 2000 Millennium celebrations, said report.
Ahmed Ressam was arrested in Port Angeles, Washington, on December 14, 1999, after crossing the Canada-US border with a car allegedly loaded with bomb-making material, said CNN.
Prosecutors said he was planning to use that material to carry out bombings at celebrations bringing in the year 2000.
Ressam's attorneys said he was an unwitting courier of the material.
Authorities said Ressam, 33, has ties to Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, believed by the United States to be linked to the US embassy bombings in East Africa, said AFP.
The jury deliberated for 10 hours before deciding that Ressam was guilty on all nine counts, CNN added.
"He was set to do an immense amount of damage, and more importantly, to strike fear in the American public," said Assistant US Attorney, Andrew Hamilton, after the verdict was announced.
Ressam's attorneys said they will appeal.
Sentencing is set for June 28 in Seattle, Washington, CNN said, adding that Ressam faces nearly 130 years in jail for the crimes.
He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit terrorism, transportation of explosives, smuggling illegal merchandise, making false statements and other felony charges.
Security was tight during the nearly month-long trial, which Ressam followed by listening with headphones to translations of the court proceedings from English to Arabic.
The US District Court in Seattle granted Ressam a change of venue to Los Angeles after defense attorneys argued publicity in the Seattle area made it impossible to form an impartial jury.
Before Ressam's trial began on March 13, a Nigerian man accused of conspiring with him, Abdel Ghani Meskini, reached an agreement with the government, and pleaded guilty to eight counts, including conspiracy to provide material terrorism support and use of fraudulent documents, according to CNN.
He could face a maximum of 105 years in prison.
As part of his plea, Meskini said a man he knew only as "Reda" was to enter the United States through Canada and that his entry "created a substantial risk of destruction of real or personal property within the United States."
US authorities say Reda is Ressam.
Seattle's millennial celebrations, and those in several other cities, were canceled as a result of Ressam's arrest – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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