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Pakistani-American Shahzad sentenced to life

Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty 100 times to plotting the botched Times Square bombing this May.

Written by Agencies | New York |
October 5, 2010 10:21:58 pm

Pakistani-American terrorist Faisal Shahzad,who pleaded guilty 100 times to plotting the botched Times Square bombing this May,was today sentenced to life on 10 counts of terrorism and weapons charges.

30-year-old Shahzad,son of a retired Pakistani Air Force Vice Marshal,was given a mandatory life prison term at the sentencing in a Manhattan court by a federal judge.

The home-made bomb he had packed into the back of an vehicle sputtered on May one,injuring no one in Times Square packed with tourists.

Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and the indictment also said Shahzad was trained in Pakistan by affiliates of Tehrik-i-Taliban.

A defiant Shahzad who appeared in the court today asked America “to brace itself as the war with Muslims have just begun.”

Making a statement in the court,the former budget analyst said: “We don’t expect your freedom… we already have Shariah law and freedom.”

“We Muslims don’t abide by human made laws because they are corrupt,” a relaxed Shahzad said and alleged that his family was threatened by FBI when he was being questioned here.

Calling himself a Muslim solider,a defiant Shahzad,who also confessed to have got trained terrorists in Pakistan’s restive tribal region of north Waziristan,had in June pleaded guilty 100 times in June to 10 terrorism and weapons counts.

“I want to plead guilty,and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over because until the hour the US pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan,and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan,and stops the occupation of Muslim lands,and stops killing the Muslims,and stops reporting the Muslims to its government,we will be attacking US and I plead guilty to that,” Shahzad had said in a statement in June.

Shahzad was apprehended at John F Kennedy airport while trying to escape to Pakistan via Dubai on May 3 and has been cooperating with the federal authorities by providing them with information.

The father of two worked as a financial analyst in Connecticut where he lived with his wife.

If the Times Square bombing was successful,Shahzad also allegedly planned to attack four other targets — Rockefeller Center,a Grand Central Terminal,the World Financial Center and the Connecticut headquarters of defence contractor Sikorsky,the prosecutors have said then.

Shahzad also allegedly received money from a man in Pakistan who is believed to be working for Tehrik-i-Taliban,according to prosecutors.

The suspect then used this money to buy the Nissan Pathfinder and a 9-millimetre Kel-Tec rifle,which was found inside his car at the airport on the day of his arrest.

The Pakistani-American also described his country of origin as a “slave country”.

“I am ashamed to belong to a slave country like Pakistan,” he said,explaining that there was no “in-between” and the only option was to fight the foreign forces.

If his actions were seen as terrorism,he continued,then “we are proud terrorists and we will keep terrorising you until you leave our lands… embrace Islam and become Muslim.”

Wearing a blue jumpsuit and a white head covering,Shahzad appeared calm and asked for permission to speak every time he wanted to say something.

When Judge Cedarbaum read out the sentence,Shahzad shouted “Allah-o-Akbar” or God is great.

Judge Cedarbaum pointed out that the “total lack of remorse” on Shahzad’s part and “his desire if given the opportunity to repeat the crime”,left her little choice but to incarcerate him for life.

“No release is permitted,” she said.

When Shahzad compared al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to the middle-age Muslim warrior Salahuddin,the judge asked the defendant if he knew what Salahuddin had done.

After Shahzad replied that he had liberated Muslim land from the Christian crusaders,the judge countered that Salahuddin was remembered as moderate without a penchant for bloodshed.

Prosecutors said last week that if Shahzad failed in first terror attack,he had planned to try again.

“You are a young man and you will have a lot of time to reflect on what you have done,” the judge told the defendant,noting that he would have time in prison to reflect on whether the Quran actually instructed to kill others.

“The Quran gives us the right to defend ourselves,” Shahzad said. “I am happy with the deal God has given me.”

Shahzad can appeal the court’s decision.

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