Driver in Trade Center Blast Gets 240 Years
The Palestinian who drove the bomb-laden van into the parking garage under the World Trade Center during the 1993 terrorist attack was sentenced to 240 years in prison Friday.
U.S. District Judge Kevin T. Duffy also fined 26-year-old Eyad Ismoil $250,000 and ordered him to pay $10-million restitution “just to make sure that you never make a dime out of this.”
Ismoil was convicted of conspiracy in November along with Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, the plot’s mastermind, for the bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000. Six men now have been sentenced to life in prison for the attack.
Prosecutors said Ismoil helped load the bomb into a van the day before the attack, then drove with Yousef to the World Trade Center the next morning. There, prosecutors said, Ismoil parked the van in the garage beneath the twin 110-story towers, one of the men lit a fuse, then both fled in another car. Ismoil escaped to Jordan, where he was arrested in 1995.
As Ismoil told Duffy he was not given a fair trial, his mother sobbed on the wooden bench 10 feet behind him.
The baby-faced Ismoil calmly read from a statement, saying history has proved that not everyone who is convicted is guilty.
“Jail me and you will add one number to the wrong list, but don’t think that you will ever rest, because tyrants always end up in trouble,” Ismoil said. He added: “In the world a fair trial is always rare.”
Duffy said Ismoil received “an extraordinarily fair trial, something that was quite expensive, something which was done not as a show trial but to give you an opportunity to put forward whatever you wanted to do.”
Defense attorney Louis Aidala likened Ismoil to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams and said history has shown that “yesterday’s terrorist may be today’s peace negotiator.”
But the judge said Ismoil was more like Benedict Arnold and added: “I don’t think Adams or Jefferson or any of the rest of them were out to kill innocents.”
Ismoil was born in Kuwait, went to high school in Jordan and came to the United States in 1989 to study engineering at Wichita State University in Kansas. He carried a Jordanian passport.