'Millennium Bomber' wins sentence appeal

Aug. 15, 2008 at 4:58 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court in San Francisco for the second time ruled that the 22-year prison term imposed on the "Millennium Bomber" was excessive.

Ahmed Ressam was arrested in 1999 as he entered the United States from Canada by ferry with explosives loaded in his car trunk. A judge included a 10-year minimum sentence in his prison term for carrying explosives while committing a serious crime.

The 9th Circuit appeals court ruled last year that the 10-year minimum penalty was too open-ended, only to be reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The new ruling is based on a guideline established last year with the judges ordering a new sentencing hearing.

At Ressam's original sentencing hearing in Los Angeles, where he allegedly planned to bomb the airport, his lawyers asked for a 12 1/2-year term while prosecutors wanted 35 years. Both sides appealed the sentence.

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