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Last World Trade Center bombing conspirator sentenced

Eyad Ismoil
Eyad Ismoil  

Eyad Ismoil gets 240 years, $10 million fine

April 3, 1998
Web posted at: 4:21 p.m. EST (2121 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- As his mother sobbed behind him in the courtroom, a young Palestinian who federal authorities believe drove a bomb-laden truck into the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993 was handed a 240-year prison term Friday.

The sentence means that Eyad Ismoil, 26, has no hope of parole. He was convicted last November on conspiracy charges for his role in a bombing attack that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy also ordered Ismoil to pay more than $10 million in restitution "just to make sure that you never make a dime out of this."

Ismoil is the sixth and last conspirator sentenced for the trade center bombing. The other five were given the same 240-year sentence.

Prosecutors say Ismoil helped the alleged mastermind of the bomb attack, Ramzi Yousef, load the bomb into a truck the day before the bombing. He then parked the vehicle in a garage beneath the twin 110-story trade center towers in Manhattan, and one of the men lit a fuse, prosecutors say.

Both men fled in another car. Ismoil eventually escaped to Jordan, where he was arrested in 1995.

Ismoil, a Jordanian citizen, was born in Kuwait, went to high school in Jordan and came to the United States in 1989 to study engineering at Wichita State University in Kansas. Prior to being sentenced, Ismoil read from a prepared statement in which he said history has proven that not everyone who is convicted is guilty.

"Jail me and you will add one number to the wrong list. But don't think that you will ever rest because tyrants always end up in trouble," he said. "In the world, a fair trial is always rare."

'Fair trial' not 'show trial'

World Trade Center bombing
The February 1993 bombing  

The judge responded that Ismoil received "an extraordinarily fair trial, something that was quite expensive, something which was done not as a show trial but to give you an opportunity to put forward whatever you wanted to do."

During his trial, Ismoil's defense team contended that he did not know a bomb was in the vehicle and had been told it was a shipment of cleaning products.

In court Friday, defense attorney Louis Aidala likened Ismoil to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and said history has shown that "yesterday's terrorist may be today's peace negotiator."

This prompted Duffy to say that Ismoil would be better compared to Benedict Arnold. "I don't think Adams or Jefferson or any of the rest of them were out to kill innocents," he said.


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