Ahmed Omar Abu Ali (inset, right), an American-born high-school valedictorian was sentenced to life in prison by a federal judge today for his role in conspiring with al Qaeda to assassinate former President George W. Bush,
Indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2005, and convicted after trial later that year, U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Bruce Lee of the Eastern District of Virginia sentenced Abu Ali to life in prison for his role in contacting and becoming part of an al Qaeda conspiracy to assassinate the former American president while he was still in office.
Emphasizing that he "cannot put the safety of the American citizenry at risk," Judge Lee sentenced the Virginia resident to life in prison today.
Just how did Abu Ali intend on carrying out his mission for al Qaeda to assassinate President Bush? Acccording to the indictment, he and a co-conspirator discussed two options. Either:
- "Abu Ali would get close enough to the President to shoot him on the street," or
- "Abu Ali would detonate a car bomb"
He and his co-conspirators were utlimately apprehended by security officials in Saudi Arabia, the country where Abu Ali allegedly began his role in the plot.
The indictment charged that he trained on how to forge documents, use weapons like hand grenades and explosives, and establish a terror cell in the U.S. with the help and support of other al Qaeda operatives.
Although Abu Ali was originally sentenced to thirty years in federal prison after the trial and conviction, a federal appeals court ruled last year that the trial court erred in calculating his sentence, and remanded the case back to the lower court to sentence him again.
You can read the 4th Circuit's June 2008 decision here:
- Falls Church Man Resentenced in Plot to Kill Bush, by Jerry Markon, Washington Post (Jul. 27, 2009)
- Jury Finds Abu Ali Guilty on Terrorism Charges, NPR, (Nov. 22, 2005)
- The Abu Ali Case and Balancing Liberties, Security, by Daniel Pipes (March 1, 2005)
- Terrorism-Related Cases
- Ashraf Wajih Nubani, co-counsel for Abu Ali
- Joshua L. Dratel, co-counsel for Abu Ali
- Nina J. Ginsberg, co-counsel for Abu Ali
- U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Va.
Photo credit: Reuters