TOPICS > Politics

"Shoe Bomber" Sentenced to Life in Prison

BY Admin  January 30, 2003 at 7:15 PM EDT

Reid’s attorneys had attempted to delay the sentencing, calling for officials to declassify intelligence documents they said might help Reid’s case. Prosecutors called him “a committed terrorist who will remain so until his dying days.” 

Reid entered a guilty plea last October to attempting to bring down American Airlines Flight 63 using an explosive substance hidden in his shoe. The substance, called triacetone triperoxide (TATP), could have blown a hole in the aircraft’s fuselage and killed all 197 passengers, prosecutors said. But Reid was subdued before he could light the fuse. 

After pushing one flight attendant to the ground and biting the hand of another who tried to stop him, Reid was overpowered by several of the aircraft’s passengers. The flight, scheduled to fly from Paris to Miami, was redirected to Boston after Reid was restrained and given a sedative by two doctors on board. 

The 29-year-old British citizen is a self-proclaimed member of al-Qaida, the militant organization headed by Osama bin Laden. He told the court his actions stemmed from a belief that the U.S. and other Western countries were persecuting Muslims. 

“Your government has sponsored the torture of Muslims in Iraq, and Turkey, and Jordan and Syria with their money and weapons,” he told U.S. Chief Judge William Young, “Islam saved my life. It was under attack by the West, I had to do what I could.” 

When Young told Reid that prosecutors would attempt to detail his relationship with al-Qaida during his sentencing, Reid replied, “I don’t care. I’m a member of al-Qaida, I pledge to Osama bin Laden and I’m an enemy of your country…” 

Reid was charged with eight counts of criminal activity, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, placing an explosive device on an aircraft and attempted homicide. He is expected to serve his sentence at the Federal Correction Center in Florence, Colorado.