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Nigerian underwear bomber appealing life term

FILE - This December 2009 file photo released by the U.S. Marshal's Service shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich. Abdulmutallab is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas 2009. FILE - This December 2009 file photo released by the U.S. Marshal's Service shows Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in Milan, Mich. Abdulmutallab is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, for trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner with a bomb in his underwear on Christmas 2009. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)
February 17, 2012
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DETROIT—A Nigerian man who was given a mandatory life sentence for trying to blow up a packed jetliner using a bomb sewn into his underwear on Christmas Day 2009 has appealed the punishment.

A notice of appeal by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was dated Thursday and posted Friday in the electronic court record for federal court in Detroit, where he was given the sentence.

An email seeking comment was sent Friday to a spokeswoman with the U.S. Attorney's office in Detroit.

Abdulmutallab, 25, pleaded guilty four months ago to all charges related to the attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Had the bomb not fizzled, the nearly 300 people aboard the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight would probably have been killed.

The case stirred renewed fears that terrorists could still bring down an American jetliner more than eight years after 9/11, and it accelerated installation of body scanners at the nation's airports.

Before Thursday's sentencing, four passengers and a crew member from the flight told U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds that they have struggled to live and travel normally since the incident on Christmas Day 2009.

During their remarks, Abdulmutallab appeared disinterested, rarely looking up from his seat just a few feet away.

Abdulmutallab "has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission," Edmunds said. "In contrast, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission."

Life in prison is a "just punishment for what he has done," the judge said. "The defendant poses a significant ongoing threat to the safety of American citizens everywhere."

Anthony Chambers, an attorney assigned to help Abdulmutallab, said a mandatory life sentence was cruel and unconstitutional punishment for a crime that didn't physically hurt anyone except Abdulmutallab. The government insisted plenty of harm had been done.

Abdulmutallab seemed to relish the mandatory sentence and defended his actions as rooted in the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

"Mujahedeen are proud to kill in the name of God," he said. "Today is a day of victory."

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