MDO - Judge recommends life in solitary for World Trade Center plotter - 01/09/1998
JAN. 9, 1998 - WORLD/NATION
Judge recommends life in solitary for World Trade Center plotter

NEW YORK (AP) -- Declaring "Yes, I am a terrorist and am proud of it," the mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing was sentenced Thursday to spend the rest of his life in prison -- probably in solitary confinement.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy branded 29-year-old Ramzi Yousef an "apostle of evil."

Yousef was convicted in separate trials for the Trade Center bombing, which killed six people and injured 1,000 in 1993, and the deadly 1994 bombing of a Philippines Airline plane. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

"I support terrorism as long as it is used against the United States and Israel," Yousef said. "You are more than terrorists. You are butchers, liars and hypocrites."

Yousef's lawyer, Roy Kulcsar, said his client's statements were not "an admission of any kind of personal involvement."

The judge sentenced Yousef to 240 years for the Trade Center attack and life in prison for killing a Japanese man in the 1994 bombing, which was meant as a test run for a plot to blow up a dozen U.S. airliners.

Duffy said he will recommend Yousef remain in solitary for life, a treatment he said was historically reserved for those "who spread plague and pestilence throughout the world." The recommendation is subject to approval by the Bureau of Prisons, which was expected to endorse it.

The judge, noting someone might be "perverse enough to buy your story," also fined Yousef $4.5 million and ordered him to pay $250 million in restitution so that any money from book or movie deals would go to his victims.

Prosecutors said Yousef came to the United States in 1992 and joined other Islamic extremists in buying chemicals and planning the attack on the Trade Center.

Yousef fled the United States the night of the bombing, leaving behind letters condemning U.S. support of Israel and threatening more terrorism. He was captured in 1995 in Pakistan.

Four others were convicted of involvement in the bombing and were sentenced to 240 years in prison. Abdul Rahman Yasin, the last suspect in the attack, remains at large. A $2 million reward has been offered for his capture and conviction.