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42,924-year sentence: Otman el Gnaoui, one of the Islamists convicted of the 2004 Madrid train bombings


World’s longest prison sentences

Istanbul, Turkey, Jan 12 – As a Turkish Muslim televangelist who surrounded himself with scantily-clad women he called “kittens” starts a 1,075-year jail term for sex crimes, we look at some of the world’s longest prison sentences.Several countries, including the United States and Spain, allow for consecutive sentences, with prisoners condemned in theory to spend many lifetimes behind bars.

– US: 30,000-year sentence –

Far-right terrorist Terry Nichols was convicted of helping fellow former soldier Timothy McVeigh carry out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people died — including 19 children.

Although he tried to pull out of the attack on a federal government building at the last minute, he got 161 life sentences plus 9,300 years without parole.

Terry Nichols after being sentenced for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 © Getty Images North America/Getty Images / Larry W. Smith

McVeigh was executed.

Nichols, 65, shares the same Colorado cell block as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and Ramzi Yousef, a Pakistani convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center attack on the Twin Towers.

Another Oklahoma jury sentenced Charles Scott Robinson to 30,000 years behind bars in 1994 for raping a small child.

– Thailand’s world record –

The world’s longest non-life sentence, according to the “Guinness Book of Records”, was imposed on Thai pyramid scheme fraudster Chamoy Thipyaso, who was jailed for 141,078 years in 1989.

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However she was released after only eight years behind bars despite having conned some members of the royal household.

– Spain: Europe’s longest –

Madrid holds the EU record for handing down the longest prison stretches, often to those convicted of Basque or Islamist terror attacks.

Three men were sentenced to a total of 120,000 years in jail for their part in the 2004 Al-Qaeda Madrid train bombings in which 193 people were killed.

ETA members have been also sentenced to thousands of years each including Ines del Rio Prada, who was sentenced to 3,828 years for her part in 24 murders and other terrorist acts.

42,924-year sentence: Otman el Gnaoui, one of the Islamists convicted of the 2004 Madrid train bombings © POOL/AFP / PACO CAMPOS

But she was freed in 2013 after 26 years by the European Court of Human Rights after a fellow ETA member Henri “Unai” Parot challenged his 4,797-year sentence for the Zaragoza Barracks bombings in 1987.

European law now restricts Spain to holding convicted criminals for a maximum of 30 or 40 years depending on when they were sentenced.

– Tough Turkey –

The sentence handed down to televangelist Adnan Oktar on Monday is the second super-sentence in only a few months in Istanbul.

Uzbek terrorist Abdulkadir Masharipov got 40 life sentences in September, one for each of his victims for a New Year’s Day massacre at the Reina nightclub in the city in the first minutes of 2017.

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He got an additional 1,368 years for attempting to kill revellers in the attack claimed by the Islamic State.

– 490 years: Britain’s longest –

The highest British sentence was handed down to IRA bomber and sniper Bernard McGinn who got 490 years for his part in various attacks including the Docklands and Baltic Exchange bombings in London.

He was arrested by the SAS in Crossmaglen but was released after serving 16 months in 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Andrew Aston got 26 life sentences in 2002 for attacking elderly and disabled people around Birmingham, but his terms are concurrent.

The six Irishmen wrongly convicted of the 1974 IRA bombings in the same city were given 21 life sentences, but freed 16 years later when their convictions were quashed.


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