Faisal Shahzad (31), the Pakistan-born United States citizen charged with the Times Square bomb plot, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum handed down the sentence on Tuesday after Shahzad admitted that he had intended to kill at least 40 people through the crudely constructed, fertiliser-based bomb planted in a Nissan Pathfinder in the bustling centre of New York City.
He also confessed to planning a second bombing two weeks after the Times Square attack. Media reports noted that Shahzad said he had acted alone out of anger about U.S. military action in Muslim countries and mistreatment of Muslims around the world.
On May 3, Shahzad was stopped from boarding the flight after he was identified by agents of the Department of Homeland Security. On May 18, he was produced before a judge and formally charged with the bomb plot of May 1, including several felony charges.
At the time New York federal attorney Preet Bharara had said that while Mr. Shahzad had voluntarily waived his right to arraignment, he had provided law enforcement authorities with “valuable intelligence from which further investigative action has been taken.”
During his trial Shahzad was said to have appeared “proud but defiant” in court and unapologetic for trying to kill as many Americans as he could. “The sentence does not mean anything to me,” he reportedly warned at the time, adding, “Brace yourself, because the war has just begun.”
However, Shahzad continued to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Justice and pleaded guilty to ten charges, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and an attempt to kill or maim.
The weeks following his arrest also saw a spike in tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan, with top U.S. intelligence officials Leon Panetta and James Jones travelling to Islamabad to keep up the pressure on Pakistani authorities investigating Shahzad’s links to terror networks there.