LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A court jailed a Somali-US man for 30 years on Wednesday for plotting to blow up a crowded Christmas tree ceremony attended by thousands in the US state of Oregon.
Mohamed Mohamud, 23, was found guilty last year following a three-week trial over the 2010 plot, after he was snared in an FBI sting operation involving a fake bomb that he tried to detonate.
Prosecutors said that Mohamud actively participated in the plot that could have killed thousands attending the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on November 26, 2010, had the bomb been real.
“Mohamud is being held accountable for his attempted use of what he believed to be a massive bomb to attack innocent civilians attending a public Christmas tree lighting ceremony,” said Assistant US Attorney General John P Carlin.
But lawyers for Mohamud claimed he was tricked by undercover agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Judge Garr M King flatly rejected that argument. “The intended crime was horrific,” said the judge, adding that Mohamud “never once expressed a change of heart” despite being offered alternatives by undercover FBI agents.