LONDON—A British university student radicalized by the sermons of an al-Qaida-linked cleric in Yemen was sentenced Wednesday to at least 15 years in prison for trying to murder a British lawmaker in retaliation for his support of the Iraq war.
Roshonara Choudhry, 21, stabbed parliamentarian Stephen Timms twice in the stomach as he met with constituents in east London in May.
She told detectives she wanted to kill Timms on behalf of “the people of Iraq.”
British media have reported that Choudhry downloaded sermons by Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Yemeni cleric who has inspired a string of attempted attacks against the West, including the airline cargo bomb plot uncovered last week.
Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed Wednesday that the influence of al-Awlaki’s group, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, was a factor in the attack on Timms.
Choudhry, a communications and English major at London’s prestigious King’s College, refused to appear in court, saying she didn’t accept its jurisdiction, and instructed her lawyer not to challenge the prosecution’s case.
She was convicted Tuesday after a one-day trial and less than 15 minutes of jury deliberation.
Judge Jeremy Cooke sentenced Choudhry to life in prison with a minimum term of 15 years.
“You said you ruined the rest of your life,” the judge said. “You said it was worth it. You said you wanted to be a martyr.”
Timms, 55, has made a full recovery.