Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

N.Y. Fed Bomb Plotter Sentenced to 30 Years

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

N.Y. Fed Bomb Plotter Sentenced to 30 Years

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- A Bangladeshi man who tried to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the New York Federal Reserve was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 22, who was drawn into an undercover operation, was arrested in October after repeatedly attempting to set off fake explosives provided to him by federal agents. He pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

"I am persuaded that the defendant was a serious threat to the safety of New Yorkers, of Americans," Judge Amon said during a hearing, imposing a sentence that was at the lower end of a recommended range of as much as life in prison.

On the day of his attempted bombing, while covering his face, wearing sunglasses and disguising his voice, Nafis had a federal agent posing as a co-conspirator record a video statement he made, saying "We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom," according to a criminal complaint.

In the courtroom Friday, Nafis, clean-shaven and wearing an over- sized khaki jail uniform, said he was grateful to the agents who caught him. He asked the judge to "please have mercy on me." He added: "I'm ashamed. I'm lost. I tried to do a terrible thing."

Federal prosecutors alleged that Nafis came to the United States in January 2012 with the intention of carrying out a terrorist attack. After a brief period at Southeast Missouri State University, he traveled to New York and tried to recruit others for his plot, prosecutors said.

From Bangladesh, he had brought recorded sermons by Anwar al- Awlaki, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula leader killed in a September 2011 U.S. drone strike, and instructions for making pressure-cooker bombs similar to those used in the Boston Marathon attack, Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Loonam told the judge.

In surveillance footage from August 2012 shown in court Friday, Nafis was shown walking near tourists in the Wall Street area with a notebook and pen in his hands. …

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