New York man pleads guilty in New York City subway bomb plot

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Zarein Ahmedzay, a man from New York, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to blow up subway trains in New York City along with two other men, in a plea entered in federal court in the city. He admitted to having flown to Pakistan in the summer of 2008 with two friends, one of whom has plead guilty, for training with al-Qaeda, where they met al-Qaeda leaders and offered their assistance in fighting US troops in Afghanistan. They were instead ordered to plan suicide-bombings in New York City similar to the 2005 London subway bombings.

The three men, Ahmedzay, Najibullah Zazi, and Adis Medunjanin, began planning their attack in time for Ramadan in September 2009, but their attack was foiled when Zazi's car was stopped entering New York City. Zazi had been testing the bombs in Denver, Colorado and was bringing them back to New York City. Ahmedzay plead guilty to conspiracy to use a weapon of mass of destruction against people in the United States; conspiracy to commit murder; and providing material support to a foreign rebel organization. He is expected to be sentenced in late July, and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

While Admedzay's defense attorney, Michael Marinaccio, declined to comment on whether his client was cooperating with the investigation, he did say that by pleading guilty to the charges, "[t]here's a potential benefit to him." Admedzay originally plead not guilty along with Medunjanin. Medunjanin's attorney Robert Gottlieb said Friday that Medunjanin intended to go to trial. "This case is much different as it pertains to Mr. Medunjanin," said Gottlieb.

In a written statement, United States Attorney General Eric Holder said the plot "makes clear we face a continued threat from al-Qaeda and its affiliates overseas. With three guilty pleas already and the investigation continuing, this prosecution underscores the importance of using every tool we have available to both disrupt plots against our nation and hold suspected terrorists accountable."

The leaders who ordered them to plan the suicide-bombings, Saleh al-Somali, head of international operations for al-Qaeda, and Rashid Rauf, a key operative, were both killed in the past year in the Waziristan region of Pakistan by drone attacks.