Calling him an "apostle of evil", a New York judge yesterday sentenced Ramzi Yousef to life imprisonment without parole for masterminding the World Trade Center bombing and a plot to blow up a dozen airliners carrying American passengers.
The terms of the 240-year sentence will mean that Yousef will be held in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. Only proven members of his family will be able to visit him, Judge Kevin Duffy ruled.
Yousef, 29, has claimed to be of Pakistani origin and to have studied electronics. He was arrested in Islamabad in February 1995 and returned to the US. He was finally convicted last November for orchestrating the 1993 Twin Towers blast. The attack, which killed six and injured a thousand, traumatised the US which had previously had little exposure to terrorism.
Judge Duffy dismissed Yousef's claim that he was following his Muslim fundamentalist beliefs. "You adored not Allah but the evil you had become. I must say as an apostle of evil, you have been most effective. You wanted to kill for the thrill of killing human beings."
Before being sentenced, Yousef made his own defiant statement to the court. "Yes, I am a terrorist and I'm proud of it. I support terrorism as long as it is used against the United States and Israel. You are more than terrorists. You are butchers, liars and hypocrites."
At his trial, the prosecution said Yousef had conceived of the Trade Center attack as a "twisted form of protest" at American support of Israel. They said he had told accomplices that he hoped that one tower would topple on another and kill at least 250,000 US citizens.
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