On Thursday, the man who organized the plot to bomb the New York City subway system in 2009 was effectively sentenced to time served. Najibullah Zazi was sentenced to 10 years behind bars, but he’s been detained in federal custody since he pleaded guilty to terror charges in 2010.
It’s not immediately clear when the 33-year-old will be released from custody. “This one unthinkable second chance has come your way and you earned it,” Judge Raymond Dearie said in open court on Thursday.
Al-Qaida recruited Zazi, a naturalized U.s. citizen, and two others to carry out a “martyrdom operation” on U.S. soil in 2008. The mission called for suicide bombings during rush-hour on subway lines, timed to occur during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. However, the plot was foiled by federal authorities.
At his hearing Thursday, Zazi apologized, saying “I tried my best to correct a horrible mistake. I am not the same person.” The third man charged in the subway plot, Zarein Ahmedzay, offered similar assistance to federal authorities and was sentenced in December to 10 years – essentially time served.
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