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30 January  
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2003: 'Shoe bomber' jailed for life
A US judge has sentenced British-born "shoe bomber" Richard Reid to life in prison after he tried to blow up a transatlantic flight from Paris to Miami.

Reid was unrepentant throughout the 90-minute hearing in which he received the maximum sentence on each of the eight counts faced by Judge William Young.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment on three of the charges - attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and two counts of interfering with a flight crew.

Reid was also given an additional 20 years each for attempted homicide, attempted murder, planting an explosive device on an aircraft, and attempted destruction of an aircraft - plus 30 years for using a destructive device in relation to a crime of violence.

The total of 110 years of imprisonment in addition to the life sentences was more than the prosecution had requested.

Before hearing his fate he made a brief statement, lashing out at the American Government.

"Your government has sponsored the torture of Muslims in Iraq and Turkey, and Jordan and Syria with their money and weapons," he said.

He then told the judge: "It's in your hands."

Reid tried to bring down American Airlines Flight 63 through the use of explosives stuffed in his shoes on 22 December, 2001, just over 3 months after the 9/11 attacks.

But he was eventually overpowered by flight attendants and passengers as he tried to ignite a fuse protruding from his shoe.

Reid was tied up with belts and headphone cords, and the plane landed in Boston under escort from fighter jets.

Authorities later said that the shoes contained powerful plastic explosives which could have blown a hole in the plane's fuselage and killed all 197 people aboard.

In pleading guilty last October, Reid, 29, said he had been driven to blow up the aircraft by a love for Islam.

"Basically I got on the plane with a bomb," Reid told the court at the time.

"Basically I tried to ignite it. Basically, yeah, I intended to damage the plane . I'm a follower of Osama bin Laden. I'm an enemy of your country and I don't care."

Last week Reid's lawyers asked Judge Young to sentence him on one of the counts to which he pleaded guilty, and which carries 30 years in prison.

They asked the judge to delay sentencing on the other seven counts, citing classified government files that could clear their client.

But the motion was rejected by the judge after the prosecution argued that delaying the sentencing would be unfair to the 14 crew members and 183 passengers who could have died on the flight.

Reid is likely to serve his sentence at the Federal Correction Center in Florence, Colorado.

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Richard Reid
Richard Reid lashed out at the US Government when he heard his sentence



In Context
Several other suspects were arrested over the attempted bombing incident but only one other man, Sajid Badat, 24, from Gloucester was convicted with conspiring with Reid.

Badat was given 13 years' jail in March 2005.

He had pleaded guilty to conspiring to place a device on an aircraft in service.

Badat was arrested at his home after surveillance operations by the police and MI5.

More than 100 homes in Gloucester were evacuated during a police search of Badat's house in November 2003,

Stories From 30 Jan


 
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