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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Friday, February 9, 2007

No Life Sentence For Top Terrorist and Ramzi Yousef Co-Conspirator Wali Khan Amin Shah

Wali Khan Amin Shah is one of the most dangerous terrorists ever to cross swords with the United States. Yet -- unlike his co-conspirators in a 1995 plot to bomb U.S. airliners -- he has not received a life sentence for his crimes.

Shah was a co-conspirator with Ramzi Yousef in the Philippines, when Yousef was embroiled in several terrorist plots, including a plan to assassinate the pope and an elaborate scheme to bomb about a dozen U.S.-bound airliners within a 48-hour span.

He was a close friend of Osama bin Laden, who has praised Shah in interviews, and was said by an al Qaeda member to know all of "bin Laden's secrets." He was linked to Wadih El-Hage and the late Mohammed Jamal Khalifa.

Published reports have indicated he is cooperating with the U.S. government -- but some of those same reports also indicate he is serving out a life sentence. In fact, he was sentenced to 30 years with five years of supervised release. His exact age is unknown, but Khan is believed to be 40-something. Although Shah would be fairly old by the time he entered supervised release, he is a known escape risk, successfully breaking out of a Philippines prison and thwarted in a daring attempt to escape a federal prison in New York during the 1990s.

The more lenient sentence was rendered in October 2004, more than three years after September 11. Philippines government documents indicate that Yousef may have sketched the basic outline of the September 11 plot during the period he and Shah were conspiring together in the Philippines. Yousef received a life sentence with no chance of parole. Both men are currently incarcerated in the Supermax detention facility in Florence, Colo.

Wali Khan Amin Shah: Docket


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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