A federal judge today sentenced Quazi Mohammad Nafis, 22, to 30 years in prison for plotting to blow up the New York Federal Reserve building after hearing the Bangladeshi man beg for leniency, saying he had been friendless and led astray.
“I’m ashamed. I’m lost. I tried to do a terrible thing. I alone am responsible for what I’ve done. Please forgive me,” he said before his sentence was handed down in Manhattan federal court. He apologized to the judge, the United States, New York City and his parents.
Federal authorities released surveillance video of Quazi Nafis walking past the New York Stock Exchange during his failed attempt to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan.
Nafis was arrested Oct. 17, 2012 when, according to court records, he assembled what he thought was a thousand-pound explosive device, and attempted to detonate it outside the Fed. The bomb was a dud and failed to detonate.
“Nafis came to the United States radicalized and bent on fighting jihad here in our homeland. He sought to commit mass murder in downtown Manhattan in the name of al-Qaeda. The prospect of widespread death and destruction could not dissuade him from his deadly plan,” said United States Attorney Loretta Lynch. ”Nafis’s goals of martyrdom and carnage were thwarted by the vigilance of law enforcement. He will now spend the next 30 years where his own actions have landed him, in a federal prison cell.”
A “serious stammering problem,” a cheating girlfriend and a lack of “real friends” led a young man down the path of a terrorist, according to a pre-sentencing letter he wrote to a federal judge in New York.
Federal prosecutors called Nafis a “committed jihadist” who came to the United States from Bangladesh on a student visa in January 2012 with “anti-American views” and “with instructions to make an operable bomb.”
“Within months of arriving,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum, Nafis “recruited and attempted to recruit like-minded jihadists to help carry out a terrorist attack.”
Nafis was caught in an FBI sting and portrayed himself as a dupe.
“I had no real friends,” he wrote to Judge Carol Bagley Amon. “So, when the radical students, who were influential and famous, were being nice to me I fell for them very easily.”
Once he arrived in the U.S. Nafis said he fell into a deep depression in part, he wrote, because of a girl. “There was a girl in Bangladesh I used to care about and with who I was seeing my future with. I found out that she was cheating on me.”
Nafis was arrested Oct. 17, 2012 when, according to court records, he assembled what he thought was a thousand-pound explosive device, drove to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in Lower Manhattan, recorded a video in which he said his views were shaped by sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki and placed calls to a cell phone, the method of detonation.
Once in custody Nafis said he realized he was “blindly following those radical people and the lecturer I was listening to.”
He credited his time in federal custody with changing his view towards the U.S.
“I want to say to Your Honor, I love Americans.”