1255 GMT December 16, 2019
The ruling was made on Friday after US District Judge Alison Nathan in the federal court in Manhattan accused Vietnamese-born Minh Quang Pham of training with an al-Qaeda-linked militant group in Yemen to carry out terror attacks at London’s Heathrow International Airport in the year 2011.
Pham, 33, pleaded guilty earlier this year to terrorism-related charges and admitted to traveling from London to Yemen in 2010 to join the terrorist group.
"This sentence holds Minh Quang Pham accountable for his terrorist activities, including providing material support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and receiving explosives training from Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen for the purpose of committing an attack in the United Kingdom," the judge noted.
Arrested by UK authorities at Heathrow airport in 2011, Pham was found to be in possession of electronic media documenting his time in Yemen and a live round of armor-piercing ammunition.
Prosecutors said Pham was trained on how to conduct the suicide attack by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric who became a leader in the group. He was killed in a US drone attack in September 2011.
Judge Alison Nathan called the suicide bombing plot “horrific and violent” and said Pham had been convicted of one of “the most serious crimes” prosecutable in the US.
In a 15-page handwritten letter to the court, the defendant said he wanted to reject all acts of terrorism, noting that, he had been deluded by the prevalent misleading propaganda over the Internet.