The father of a Jordanian teenager who faces 30 years in jail for a plot to blow up a Dallas skyscraper said in remarks published on Tuesday that he would rather his son be sentenced to death.
"I would rather my son be executed than spend 30 years in U.S. jails," Maher Hussein Smadi, a ministry of agriculture engineer, told the independent Al Ghad newspaper.
"I talked to my son over the phone on Monday and I felt how frustrated he was, knowing that he would spend 30 years in American prisons without committing any crime."
U.S. justice officials said last Wednesday that Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, had at first pleaded not guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction after his arrest last year following an undercover sting operation.
But the justice department said Smadi has changed his plea to guilty in a plea bargain deal which would see him sentenced to 30 years in prison provided the court accepted the deal.
U.S. district judge Barbara Lynn is due to formally sentence Smadi at a hearing in Dallas on August 20.
But Smadi said his son had been "tricked twice."
"The first time was when U.S. agents used the Internet to lure him, and the second time when defense lawyers appointed by the court convinced him to plead guilty and assured him that he would get a reduced jail sentence of 13 years," he was quoted as saying.
"I urge the Jordanian government to interfere and guarantee a fair trial for my son."
Federal agents arrested Smadi in Dallas in late September after they say he dialed a cell phone number in an attempt to trigger a truck bomb he had parked underneath the office building.
Arabic-speaking American agents posing as al Qaeda members provided him with the fake bomb, which they say he asked for and wanted to detonate. Agents had encountered the young Jordanian in an Islamic extremist forum in January 2009.