CONVICTED underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is fighting his life sentence delivered on Thursday by a US District Court.
Thus, he has filed a notice of appeal, challenging the judgment, according to court papers he personally signed right after the sentence.
Indications that Abdulmutallab wanted to avoid a life sentence emerged few days before the sentencing, as he and his stand-by counsel started filing several petitions essentially challenging the impending life sentence based on the memorandum that the US attorneys had filed demanding the sentence.
Court records reveal that between February 10 and 14, Abdulmutallab filed three motions, all of which he signed in ink, showing clearly that it was not just the idea of his standby counsel, Anthony Chambers, who he has had occasion in the past to condemn for bad advice and lack of respect.
The three motions are:
• One: to hold the mandatory life sentence statute of the US unconstitutional, too harsh and cruel, among other concerns. This was filed on Friday, Feb 10.
• A second one: to strike out the US government attorneys’ memo prepared by an expert, Dr. Simon Perry, which concluded that Abdulmutallab cannot possibly be reformed and could try terrorist bombing again if given the opportunity. This was filed on Tuesday, Feb 14, two days to the sentencing.
• And a third filing, disagreeing with the conclusion of the US prosecutors that he should have a life sentence without the chance of a parole. This was also filed two days to the sentencing hearing of last Thursday.
According to the response, Abdulmutallab submitted that the court should impose a less than life sentence on him.
The response by his counsel said, “in consideration of all circumstances in this case, including the fact the defendant does not have a criminal history, his age, his upbringing and the likely possibility of the defendant reforming, a sentence less than life would certainly promote respect for the law.”
When on Thursday Judge Nancy G. Edmunds denied the motions and proceeded to impose a life sentence on Abdulmutallab, the 25-year-old Nigerian-born man did not wait till the next day to file a notice of appeal, which again, he signed in ink.
In the notice of appeal, Abdulmutallab, who had freely pleaded guilty at the commencement of the trial last October, indicated that he was appealing against the sentencing. The notice of appeal was dated February 16, the same day when the sentence was delivered.
While no date has been set for the appeal, legal observers say Abdulmutallab is desperate to avoid a life sentence, and he’s using the US Court system to achieve his aim.
Commenting, US-based Nigerian lawyer, Kayode Oladele, said the motions by the defendant’s lawyer “can be seen as desperate moves to stop Abdulmutallab from receiving the mandatory life sentence.”
Oladele, who is representing Nigeria in the case, had predicted last week that by those motions, Abdulmutallab was already “preparing grounds for his eventual appeal should the Judge give him the mandatory life sentence in accordance with the sentencing guidelines.”
“You will recall that he (Abdulmutallab) has already pleaded guilty to the charges and his guilty plea was informed and voluntary, which may have altered his right to appeal,” he said.
Oladele said by filing a motion to hold Mandatory Life Statute unconstitutional and requesting a variance, “Abdulmutallab is trying to force the window of appeal slightly ajar so that he can have something to hold on to for the Court of Appeal’s review in the very likely event that the Judge denies the motion and gives him the mandatory life.’”
But he added that the multiple life sentences given Abdulmutallab without parole were due to the serious nature of the offenses, including the emotional stress and trauma the victims and their loved ones had suffered as a result of his action.
Oladele said: “Unfortunately, he kept a straight face throughout the trial and did nothing to show that he was sorry for his actions. Even when he addressed the court before the sentencing, he said nothing other than to reiterate his commitments to the mujahedeen, Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki that reportedly trained him and commissioned him to bomb the US Airliner.”
Even at the courtroom just before he was sentenced last Thursday, Abdulmutallab was praising the mujahedeen, justifying killing in the name of Allah and maintaining that mujahedeen would continue to kill until the Jews were driven out of Palestine.