Vietnam-born Al-Qaeda recruit jailed 40 years in US

27th May 2016, Comments 0 comments

A Vietnamese-born Al-Qaeda recruit who worked for the terror group in Yemen and plotted to carry out a suicide attack at London's Heathrow airport was sentenced to 40 years in the United States on Friday.

Minh Pham, 33, stood in a Manhattan court dressed in navy prison scrubs, an orange T-shirt and orange canvas shoes as he heard his fate months after pleading guilty to terrorism charges.

The graphic designer and Muslim convert who had spent most of his life in Britain travelled to Yemen in December 2010 to receive military training from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

He returned to Britain in July 2011 after offering to carry out a suicide attack. AQAP instructed him to target civilians coming from either the United States or Israel at Heathrow, the court heard.

He was extradited to the United States in February 2014 and pleaded guilty in January providing material support to AQAP, conspiring to receive military training from AQAP and using a machine gun.

Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born AQAP leader killed in a US drone strike in 2011, instructed him how to build a bomb, which he was to hide in a backpack in order to attack London's busiest airport, prosecutors said.

The US government had requested a sentence of 50 years, the defense 30 years. The judge said she imposed a sentence below the maximum because Pham renounced Al-Qaeda, expressed regret and pleaded guilty.

© 2016 AFP

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