Somali-American on trial over X-mas tree bomb plot
PORTLAND, Oregon (AFP) – A Somali-American accused of trying to blow up a crowded US Christmas-tree lighting ceremony went on trial Friday, more than two years after being arrested in an FBI sting operation.
Arguing in court just blocks from the site of the tree lighting in the US state of Oregon, lawyers presented rival pictures of Mohamed Mohamud (AFP pic), either as a troubled youth tricked by undercover agents or a hardened terrorist.
The 21-year-old’s defence lawyer claimed Mohamud never would have attempted to detonate the “bomb” – a harmless fake supplied by FBI agents – on November 26, 2010 if agents posing as terrorists hadn’t coerced the confused then-teenager into it.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation “created a crime that never would have happened without them,” attorney Stephen Sady told the 16-strong jury which will decide Mohamud’s fate, in the long-awaited trial.
“He wasn’t a perfect human being,” added. “But he wasn’t someone who was sitting around thinking about blowing up his hometown.”
The “entrapment” argument is crucial to Mohamud’s defence and likely his only shot at avoiding life in prison on the charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.