Pakistani Man Gets 40 Years in Al-Qaida Plot to Bomb Subway

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Abid Naseer, Pakistani Man, Sentenced in U.S. to 40 Years for al Qaeda Plot.

An Al Qaeda operative convicted of plotting to blow up a shopping mall in England was sentenced Tuesday to 40 years in prison by a federal judge in Brooklyn who believes the terrorist is a candidate for redemption. A federal jury in Brooklyn convicted Abid Naseer in March following a trial that featured spies in disguise, evidence from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound and the defendant’s questioning of an admitted co-conspirator.

Abid Naseer, 29, was facing a life sentence for the scheme which prosecutors contend was scheduled to be carried out during Easter weekend of 2009 to inflict maximum causalities atf the crowded mall. “Had he and his co-conspirators not been stopped by the Greater Manchester police, there would be hundreds, if not thousands, dead today,” Assistant U.S. Abid Naseer was first arrested in 2009 in Britain with 11 other men suspected of preparing to attack the mall in Manchester, and was extradited to the United States from Britain in 2013.

The Manchester Evening News understands his attack was thwarted after Government spying station GCHQ intercepted coded emails between Naseer and senior Al Qaeda commanders which referred to an imminent ‘wedding’, or terror strike. Naseer, 29, had faced up to life in prison following his conviction by a U.S. jury in March on charges including that he provided material support to the Islamic militant group. “I know you’re not what I’d say for any lack of a better word a ‘typical’ criminal. Naseer was convicted in March of helping Al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan plan the Manchester attack as part of a plot that would also target the New York subway and a Danish newspaper. A team of around 300 counter terrorism officers had already been investigating Naseer but the ‘game changing’ wedding email prompted an urgent re-think. The charges were dropped after a British court found there wasn’t enough evidence, but U.S. prosecutors later named him in an indictment alleging a broader conspiracy that included the subway plot.

Dearie said he could not understand how an intelligent young man, who had been a “champion cricket player” with a good life from a privileged and loving family could turn to terrorism. Following his sentence, police revealed his plot involved blowing up a car that was to be parked just 100 metres from the spot where the IRA detonated a lorry bomb in 1996. Five British M15 secret agents also testified wearing disguises, one wore a fake beard and thick black glasses, and the trial marked the first time documents recovered in the 2009 Navy SEAL raid against Osama bin Laden’s compound were used as trial evidence. Prosecutors say he was dispatched to Britain by Al-Qaeda in 2006 to begin preparations for the attack, arriving on a student visa but immediately dropping out of university.

The government alleged Naseer used coded language in an email to inform his al Qaeda handler in Pakistan that he was “planning a large wedding for numerous guests between April 15 and 20, 2009” and that his al Qaeda contact “should be ready.” (TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. But Dearie ultimately decided he would toss Naseer a life saver — a determinate sentence that would give him some light at the end of the prison tunnel even though he will be in his early 60s when he finishes the term. Defense lawyer James Neuman appealed for a lesser sentence of under 30 years, saying that there was nothing in his background to suggest he was a hardened criminal.

He had a happy, Pakistani childhood, a good education, growing up watching TV and movies and liking girls and loved playing cricket — similar to a typical American upbringing, Neuman said. Naseer insisted the emails consisted only of harmless banter about looking for a potential bride after going to England to take computer science classes.

He said the evidence at trial had been limited, that Naseer had never been found in possession of bomb-making materials and questioned how close the plot had been to execution. Zazi testified that after receiving explosives training in Pakistan, he received instructions from the same al-Qaida contact as Naseer and was told to use “marriage” and “wedding” as code for attacks.

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