An Uzbek man who plotted to kill US President Barack Obama has been sentenced to nearly 16 years in jail. Ulugbek Kodirov planned to kill Barack Obama during his campaign for re-election.
US authorities said Kodirov had been radicalized through the Internet and believed that he was acting for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a militant group designated by the US as a foreign terrorist organization.
"This case is an example of how our youth can be radicalized by misinformation and propaganda they see on the Internet," Assistant US Attorney Michael Whisonant said.
Sentencing Kodirov to 188 months in jail, US district judge Abdul Kallom said the penalty should act as a deterrent.
"We need to send a strong message that anyone who subjects themselves to propaganda, that the punishment will be serious," Kallon said.
Kodirov was arrested in July 2011 at a motel in Alabama. He had obtained a fully automatic machine gun and four hand grenades from an undercover agent. He planned to use the weapons to kill the president, officials said.
The 22-year-old's student visa was revoked in April 2010 after he failed to enroll at medical school, as planned, because his language skills were not sufficient. Kodirov's own attorney called him a "lonely young man with a laptop."
He had tried to buy weapons, intending to shoot Obama while he was on the campaign trail. However, the Internet contact from whom he tried to acquire the arms became a confidential source for the government.
Kodirov, who apologized at the hearing, avoided a potential life sentence by cooperating with investigators. In February he pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorist activity.
rc/mr (AFP, Reuters)