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US lawyers seek longer sentence for 'Millennium bomber'

[JURIST] The US government has said that it will appeal a 22-year sentence [JURIST report] given to Ahmed Ressam [Wikipedia profile], an Algerian convicted of planning to kill travelers at Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s eve in 1999. In delivering Ressam’s sentence, Judge John C. Coughenour of the Western District of Washington used the opportunity to point out that US can deal with terrorist suspects without abandoning the US constitution. "We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, to deny him the right to counsel or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution," said Coughenour, contrasting this with the treatment of terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive]. Ressam and his lawyers, in contrast, say that he has suffered a mental breakdown after government interrogations and years in solitary confinement. US Attorney John McKay [official profile] said Friday that he will seek a term of 35 years for Ressam, pointing out that he could have faced a 65-year sentence. With credit for time served, Ressam could be eligible for release after 14 years. Saturday's Globe and Mail has more.

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