Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, D.C. Area Terrorist, Convicted

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was convicted yesterday of conspiring with al Qaeda to assassinate President Bush.

Would-Be Bush Assassin Convicted in Virginia (AP)

A member of the jury that convicted an American Muslim student of plotting with al-Qaida to assassinate President Bush said she was struck by the man’s videotaped confession, in which he laughed and pantomimed the use of an assault rifle. “It was very telling,” Nancy Ramsden said Tuesday after the federal jury convicted 24-year-old Ahmed Omar Abu Ali on all counts. “It was almost sort of a joke for him.” Abu Ali, a U.S. citizen born to Jordanian parents, could get life in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 17 on charges including conspiracy to assassinate the president, conspiracy to hijack aircraft and providing support to al-Qaida.

The jury rejected his claim that Saudi security officers whipped and tortured him into a false confession after his arrest in June 2003, when he was enrolled at the Islamic University of Medina.

Abu Ali, who was raised in Falls Church, Va., swallowed hard before the verdict was read but otherwise showed little emotion. The jury had deliberated for 2 1/2 days.

It continues to amaze that someone raised in an affluent community in the United States could be drawn to al Qaeda.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Terrorism, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. LTV says:

    Regarding the few details released about the conviction of the Muslim American student, Ahmed Omar Abu Ali of conspiring with Al Qaedda to assassinate President Bush in today’s news: the details are very unsettling.

    This was the defendant who lives in Falls Church, VA with his Jordanian father and was attending university in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested and interrogated in June 2003 in Saudi Arabia by Saudi authorities for at least a week, supposedly all captured on videotape. However, the evidence that was used to convict him was, “Notes provided by Saudi interrogators [saying that] Abu Ali had talked of several plots, including a plan to assassinate Bush.” Notes? I thought the whole thing was on videotape!

    A member of the jury, Nancy Ramsden said, “It was very telling. It was almost sort of a joke for him,” she said, referring to points in the tape where Abu Ali laughs and pantomimes the use of an assault rifle.

    The defendant claimed he was tortured and coerced into confessing. His attorneys presented a doctor and a psychiatrist who said his account was consistent with being tortured. He also claimed that he had lines on his back that showed he had been whipped.

    Ramsden said the jurors agreed from the beginning they did not believe Abu Ali was physically tortured. A dermatologist testified for the government that faint linear marks on Abu Ali’s back were only surface scratches.

    Excuse me? His entire defense was that he was tortured in Saudi Arabia and that his confession was extracted under the duress and was therefore inadmissible. Yet press reports tell us that the jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days. What the heck were they talking about for all that time?

    Further, the press reports that there was no actual evidence presented of any active plots to kill the President. The only evidence reported in that regard was that the defendant didn’t like Pres. Bush and wanted to see him dead.

    In other words, this defendant (the valedictorian in his high school class in Virginia) was convicted based on a statement that was equivalent to “I’m going to kill you,” with no weapon, no plot, no actual active conspiracy.

    Obviously, we don’t have all the facts that were presented at the three week trial. Press reports are extremely sketchy, as they so often are in trial cases. But I gotta wonder about what the heck this jury was thinking. I also have to wonder what the press was thinking, presenting such sketchy accounts of the evidence. I couldn’t even find all of the above in one article. I had to piece it together from articles in a number of publications from around the world using Google news.

    Something is very, very wrong.

  2. Suzia says:

    He was laughling because obviously it was a joke to him that he was reading for the first time things that he supposedly had written and was involved in. I would have laughed too. If you know anything about human psychology, you would know that if someone is forced to read something that they have never seen before and it is telling them what they supposedly were planning to do, yes it is a big joke that the world is too wrapped up with fear to understand. And by the way, don’t use misleading headlines just because they are attractive. You are leading people to believe that Ahmed is a terrorist when in reality that is only the opinion of the brain washed jury.

  3. Suzia says:

    Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is innocent, framed, and will be vindicated soon if God wills it.