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U.S. Appeal Court upholds life sentence on Abdulmutallab

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A Detroit Appeal panel Court on Monday upheld the conviction of life sentence earlier imposed on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for his attempt to bomb a Delta Airline flight on Dec. 25, 2009.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline carrying 289 passengers, including Abdulmutallab, was flying from Amsterdam to Detroit when he attempted to ignite explosives concealed in his underwear as the aircraft made its final approach to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Fortunately, the explosive failed to catch fire but injured only Abdulmutallab before the pilot landed the plane and the convict was taken into custody.

He was later tried for attempted murder, conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and other charges.

The North America Correspondent of NAN reports that Abdulmutallab, had in an appeal, challenged the court’s decision to allow him to represent himself and the admission of several statements he gave while being treated at the University of Michigan Hospital.

He also challenged his competency to enter his guilty plea and whether or not his sentences were constitutional.

The Appeal Court, however, said the trial court was not obligated to conduct a competency hearing before accepting Abdulmutallab’s plea, saying the pre-trial record indicated he was able to assist in his own defence before entering the plea.

Also, the court rejected Abdulmutallab’s claim that a competency hearing should have been ordered before allowing him to proceed without an attorney.

The court, however, cited the fact that standby counsel appointed by the trial court to assist Abdulmutallab took part in the vast majority of proceedings prior to his guilty plea.

The court dismissed his challenge to the admission of statements he gave while being hospitalised, saying that Abdulmutallab lost the right to challenge the admission when he pleaded guilty.

“We will not address the merits of Abdulmutallab’s argument, as he waived any right to challenge the suppression of his statements when he entered the guilty plea,” U. S. local media, quoted Judge David McKeague, as saying in his ruling.

The court also concluded that the sentences Abdulmutallab received were within the boundaries of federal law and the U.S. constitution.

During the trail, Abdulmutallab chose to represent himself, saying that he felt receiving representation from a federal public defender would not be in his best interest.

After one day of the trial, he entered a guilty plea to all eight counts in the indictment and was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences plus 30 years and 240 months.