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Prosecutors to appeal Ressam sentence

August 26th, 2005 - 12:29pm

(Seattle) -- Federal prosecutors say they will appeal the 22-year prison sentence of Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian national arrested in Port Angeles in 1999 and convicted of plotting to bomb LAX. The sentence handed down last month was significantly lower than the 35 years prosecutors had recommended, but could have been shorter still had Ressam agreed to testify against two of his alleged co-conspirators. In a statement today announcing his plans to appeal, U.S. Attorney John McKay says the standard sentencing range for the crimes Ressam committed is 65 years to life. McKay says Ressam plotted to kill hundreds of innocent Americans and his powerful explosives put lives at risk on the MV Coho and in Port Angeles. He says Ressam's actions warrant a sentence above 22 years and that the district judge erred in imposing the sentence. With credit for time served and three years off for good behavior, Ressam could be out of prison in 14 years. He likely would then be deported or sent to France, where he has been convicted in absentia of terror-related crimes. Ressam was arrested December 14th, 1999, as he tried to enter the United States at the Coho ferry terminal in Port Angeles with explosive materials in the trunk of his rental car. He was convicted of nine counts of terrorism-related charges in the spring of 2001.

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