Prosecutors said that Nikolaos Karvounakis contacted a journalist shortly after the device was found and described himself as a lover of "anti-political violence." Photo courtesy Police Scotland
Feb. 16 (UPI) -- An eco-terrorist who planted a bomb at a popular tourist district in Scotland a few years ago -- which failed to detonate -- was sentenced on Wednesday to more than eight years in prison.
Nikolaos Karvounakis, 35, was arrested and charged for planting the device in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens four years ago, apparently motivated by the Mexico-based International Terrorist Mafia eco-terror group.
Prosecutors said the Greek-born Karvounakis had been radicalized online and planted the bomb containing an obscene message and 58 nails. Police said if the bomb had gone off, it likely would have caused serious injuries. It took police two years to track down Karvounakis and arrest him.
Karvounakis pleaded guilty and was sentenced Wednesday to eight years and four months. The judge said that the device posed a high risk to people in the area and nearby buildings.
"Although the device did not detonate, all the component parts for that to happen were present," the judge said, according to Edinburgh News. "The offence involved a high degree of culpability on your part as shown by the significant degree of planning."
Some bystanders ultimately discovered the explosive device, which had been placed in a shelter in Princes Street Gardens, and a bomb squad disposed of it.
Prosecutors said that Karvounakis contacted a journalist shortly after the device was found and sent a photo while describing himself as a lover of "anti-political violence."
"His reckless actions showed utter disregard for the safety of anyone within Princes Street Gardens on the day in question and there is no doubt his presence and engagement online after the event could have easily encouraged others to carry out similar acts, with potentially catastrophic consequences. Not just in Scotland," Stuart Houston, head of Police Scotland's counter-terrorism unit, said in a statement.
Karvounakis faced as many as 10 years in jail, but received a reduced sentence due to his guilty plea. He will be on Britain's counter-terror list for 15 years.