ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Arab-American college student was convicted Tuesday of joining Al Qaeda and plotting to assassinate President Bush.
The federal jury rejected Ahmed Omar Abu Ali's claim that Saudi authorities whipped and tortured him to extract a false confession.
Abu Ali, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen born to a Jordanian father and raised in Falls Church, Va., could get life in prison on charges that include conspiracy to assassinate the president and providing support to Al Qaeda.
Abu Ali told authoritiees shortly after his arrest at a Medina, Saudi Arabia, university in June 2003 that he joined Al Qaeda and discussed various terrorist plots, including a plan to personally assassinate Bush and to establish himself as a leader of an Al Qaeda cell in the United States.
But the defense countered that he was tortured by the Saudi security force known as the Mubahith.
The jury deliberated for 2 1/2 days. Abu Ali swallowed hard before the verdict was read but otherwise showed little emotion.