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'Millennium bomber' re-sentenced to 22 years

[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday re-issued a 22-year prison sentence for so-called "millennium bomber" Ahmed Ressam [PBS profile]. Judge John Coughenour of the US District Court for the Western District of Washington [official website] first sentenced Ressam to 22 years [JURIST report] in 2005 for plotting to blow up Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve 1999 [CBC timeline]. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] overturned Ressam's conviction [JURIST report] in 2007, ordering him to be re-sentenced. Prosecutors objected to the re-issued 22 year sentence, calling for 45 years [AFP report] because when Ressam was originally sentenced in 2005 he was providing the government with information about other terrorism suspects and he has since refused to cooperate.

In May, the US Supreme Court voted 8-1 to uphold the Ressam's conviction in United States v. Ressam [LII backgrounder; JURIST report]. The Court reversed the judgment [opinion, PDF] of the Ninth Circuit, and ruled that Ressam could be convicted and sentenced under a law [18 U.S.C. § 844 text] punishing the carrying of explosives while committing a felony even if the explosives were not related to the felony offense. Justice John Paul Stevens delivered the opinion of the Court [text]. Clarence Thomas, joined by Antonin Scalia, concurred in part and concurred in the judgment, and Stephen Breyer wrote a dissent [texts].

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