Woman gets life for stabbing MP

2010-11-03 16:49

London – A British Muslim woman who tried to kill a lawmaker by stabbing him in the stomach, reportedly after watching online sermons by Yemeni-US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was jailed for life on Wednesday.

Roshonara Choudhry, a 21-year-old student, twice plunged a knife into former minister Stephen Timms when she went to meet him at his constituency office in east London on May 14 this year, shortly after the general election.

Judge Jeremy Cooke said Choudhry would continue to be a danger to British lawmakers for the foreseeable future and passed a life sentence with a minimum term of 15 years.

"You said you ruined the rest of your life. You said it was worth it. You said you wanted to be a martyr," said Cooke, sitting at London's Old Bailey, also known as the Central Criminal Court.

Choudhry was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday of attempted murder and also of two counts of possessing a knife.

Iraq invasion

The trial heard she had told police after her arrest that she wanted to kill him because he voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

According to The Guardian newspaper, police believe the once moderate Muslim was radicalised by watching Awlaki's English-language jihadi sermons on the Internet.

Yemeni prosecutors accused Awlaqi on Tuesday of having links to al-Qaeda and of incitement to kill foreigners, following the discovery of two parcel bombs on US-bound flights last Friday.

The jury heard that Choudhry pretended to shake hands with Timms before stabbing him with a kitchen knife "to get revenge for the people of Iraq".

Timms has since made a full recovery.