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Times Square bomber Shahzad gets life imprisonment

By Betwa Sharma
Last updated on: October 05, 2010 21:01 IST
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Pakistani-American terrorist Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to plotting the botched Times Square bombing this May, was 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 1, injuring no one in Times Square packed with tourists.

The 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 on Tuesday asked America "to brace itself as the war with Muslims has 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 in New York. 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 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.

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.

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Betwa Sharma in New York
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