August 11, 2012 1:53:22 am
A US soldier convicted of collecting bomb-making materials for what he told authorities would be a massive attack on a Texas restaurant full of troops was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
Army Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo,a Muslim,had been planning a religious mission to win justice for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan,according to a recorded jail conservation with his mother.
His plan was to place a bomb in a busy restaurant filled with soldiers,wait outside and shoot survivors. In a police interview,Abdo said he wanted to carry out the attack because I dont appreciate what my unit did in Afghanistan.
Abdo,who was sentenced to two life terms plus additional time,sat in court Friday with a white cloth bound over his mouth and a black mesh covering his hair and face. He previously was accused of spitting what he thought was HIV-infected blood on agents escorting him.
Abdo represented himself at the sentencing after the 22-year-old last month said he and his attorneys werent communicating effectively. Abdo said he would continue his fight until the day the dead are called to account for their deeds. He spoke in Arabic several times and translated it for the court.
I do not ask the court to give me mercy,for Allah is the one that gives me mercy, he said.
A federal jury convicted Abdo in May on six charges,including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He had been absent without leave from Fort Campbell,Kentucky,when arrested with bomb-making materials last summer at a Fort Hood-area motel.
Abdo at age 17 decided to follow Islam. He enlisted in the military in 2009,thinking that the service wouldnt conflict with his religious beliefs. But according to an essay that was part of his conscientious objector status application filed in June 2010,Abdo reconsidered as he explored Islam further.
Abdo said in his discharge request that other soldiers harassed him about his religion. Abdos unit was deployed to Afghanistan without him. His conscientious objector status was put on hold after he was charged with possessing child pornography in May 2011. Two months later,Abdo went AWOL from the Kentucky post.
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