A judge from the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [official website] on Monday sentenced American-born Colleen LaRose, also known by her self-appointed pseudonym "Jihad Jane," to 10 years in prison for following al Qaeda [JURIST news archive] orders in a failed attempt to assassinate a Swedish artist for his depiction of images offensive to Islam. While LaRose, who converted to Islam online, did not ultimately carry out the terrorist plot, she was arrested in 2009 and eventually pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to all charges. During sentencing, the prosecution urged the court to give LaRose decades behind bars, arguing that she was still very much a danger to society. Meanwhile, her defense painted LaRose as a vulnerable and manipulated woman, emphasizing the fact that she never actually carried out the bungled plot. Since her arrest, she has cooperated with authorities and provided valuable information about other terrorist threats. LaRose has been in prison for four years already, and will be given credit for time already served. Upon her release from prison, she will spend five years on supervised release.
Many cases involving al Qaeda-linked plots are making their way through the US judicial system. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in November upheld the 2011 conviction [JURIST report] of Tarek Mehanna, who was found guilty on four terror-related charges and three charges of lying to authorities. In October suspected terrorist Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai [JURIST report] was charged in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. In March Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, the son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden, was captured [JURIST report] and thereafter indicted in federal court for plotting to kill Americans. In January the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the conspiracy conviction [JURIST report] of Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman Al Bahlul, Osama bin Laden's media secretary. In October 2012 Egyptian-born Muslim cleric Abu Hamza Al Masri pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to 11 criminal charges. His charges included taking hostages, providing material support to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, and conspiring to do such acts. He made his first appearance in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York after being extradited from the UK. Osama Bin Laden was killed [JURIST report] by US military personnel in 2011.