U.S. prosecutors seek 25 years for man who plotted to kill Saudi Ambassador

May 5, 2013

U.S. prosecutors are seeking a 25-year prison sentence for a man who confessed to plotting to kill Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. Manssor Arbabsiar, a 57-year old Corpus Christi, Texas resident with U.S. citizenship and an Iranian passport, pled guilty last October to two conspiracy charges and a murder-for-hire count. He told law enforcement officials that he was directed by Iranian military officials to travel to Mexico between spring and fall 2011 to arrange for the assassination. In a post-arrest statement, Arbabsiar said that he had demanded at least $1 million for his involvement in the plot, in addition to the $25,000 he received from Iran’s Qods Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a supporter of terrorist organizations.

In papers filed in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, government prosecutors characterized Arbabsiar’s plot as an “extremely serious crime.” They say that he planned to place explosives in a Washington, D.C. restaurant, which would have likely led to mass casualties. “A large number of bystanders who had done nothing other than chose to eat in a particular restaurant were very likely to be killed as a result of the assassination of the ambassador,” the prosecutors said. According to the papers, Arbabsiar told a confidential government source that killing innocent bystanders, including U.S. senators, who often frequented the restaurant, was “no problem” and “no big deal.”

The prosecutors wrote, “This plot, had it been successfully completed, would not only have killed the ambassador and numerous innocent bystanders, but also severely impacted international and diplomatic relationships of the United States.”

Sentencing in the case is scheduled for Monday.