An alleged aide of world's most wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden was on Wednesday sentenced to life in prison for stabbing a federal prison guard in the eye in 2000, while awaiting trial in New York on terrorism charges.
52-year-old Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, a Sudanese-born Iraqi, pleaded guilty to stabbing the Louis Pepe with a plastic comb on November 1, 2000. The stabbing left Pepe brain-damaged and blind in one eye.
At the time, he was awaiting trial for allegedly planning terrorist attacks, including the 1998 attacks on US
embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
Salim was originally given 32 years in 2004 by Federal Judge Deborah Batts, who concluded that the stabbing didn't
However, in 2008, a federal appeals court ordered that Mamdouh Mahmud Salim be re-sentenced.
In his judgement today, Batts said Salim deserved a life sentence for his "unusually cruel, brutal" attack at the
Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. She also ordered Salim to pay USD 4.72 million in restitution to cover the medical expenses for Pepe's rehabilitation.
Before the 9/11 attacks, Salim was believed to be the highest-ranking al-Qaida member held in the United States.
"You want to be a martyr?" Pepe, the victim who was in a wheelchair, asked Salim, who appeared on closed circuit
television from his prison cell in Colorado.
"Guess what, Salim? You're not going (to be a) martyr. You're going to hell - that's where you’re going," Pepe said,
according to the NY Daily News.
An emotional Pepe asked Salim to look at him and see the damage that he had caused because of an attack with a
"Salim, how you doing, everything cool? You look better than me," he said.
"Pepe looks pretty bad - I can't talk or walk or anything…hat's what you did, Salim. Look at me now, it's been
10 years. I can't do nothing, Salim."
Salim, however, maintained that he was not a terrorist. "I'm not a terrorist," he said.
During the hearing, Salim was handcuffed and shackled at the waist and spoke via a phone from his prison cell.
The defendant has previously said that he was "kidnapped" in Germany in 1998 and "treated badly" in US
custody, the Wall Street Journal reported.