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US jails bank bomb-plotter for 30 years

Bangladeshi man apologises before his sentencing for plan to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Last Modified: 09 Aug 2013 16:37
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The former cybersecurity student said that he regretted his actions, which he called un-Islamic [Reuters]

A Bangladeshi man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US for plotting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis had pleaded guilty in February to charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to al-Qaeda. 

At his sentencinfg on Friday, he told the judge in a Manhattan federal court that he now rejected radical Islam.

"I'm ashamed, I'm lost, I tried to do a terrible thing," Nafis said before his sentence was handed down.

"I alone am responsible for what I've done. Please forgive me."

The 22-year-old apologised to the judge, the people of New York and the US.

Nafis became radicalised at his university in Bangladesh and came to the US with aspirations of jihad, according to lawyers on both sides.

He said personal problems also were a factor.

The defendant had said in a five-page typed letter to Judge Carol Bagley Amon that he hated his actions.

"I know that I will never pursue such behaviour again that is not only un-Islamic, but also destroyed my family and my life,'' Nafis said.

Nafis told the judge he had a stammering problem and no real friends in his native country.

'Wanting to kill Obama'

"I was becoming religious but never realised that I was misguided slowly but surely with the wrong teachings of Islam."

He came to the US to study cybersecurity at a Missouri college where he became vice-president of the school's Muslim student association.

But he said he was put on probation because of poor grades and travelled to New York to find a job. 

Authorities say Nafis adopted increasingly more radical views and began using Facebook and other social media to seek support for a terror attack.

One of his contacts turned out to be a government informant who notified authorities.

While under investigation, Nafis spoke of his admiration for Osama bin Laden and talked of writing an article about his plot for an al-Qaeda-affiliated magazine.

He also talked about wanting to kill President Barack Obama and bomb the New York Stock Exchange, officials said.

Nafis was arrested in October 2012 while carrying inert materials he believed to be a bomb but which were planted by an undercover FBI agent as part of a sting operation.

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