- A man with alleged links to al-Qaeda has received a 40-year prison sentence
- The suspect planned to attack a shopping mall in the United Kingdom in 2009
- His emails also revealed plots to attack New York and Denmark
A man who is believed to have had connections with al-Qaeda in plotting bombing attacks that targeted England, New York, and Denmark, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison by an American jury.
The 29-year-old Abid Naseer was arrested in Manchester in the United Kingdom in 2009 and was extradited to the United States in 2013.
US laws allow for the prosecution of any individual accused of involvement with terror organizations such as al-Qaeda for acting against American interests, regardless of where it took place.
Naseer allegedly entered the UK through a fake student visa and operated a terror cell which planned an attack on the Arndale Center in Manchester.
Authorities in Britain discovered the plot when they were able to intercept messages between Naseer and a senior al-Qaeda commander that were traced to an internet cafe near the former’s home.
The messages allegedly referred to a “wedding” which has been used as a code for a terror strike.
Police revealed to the Mirror that the plot involved a car bomb that would have been parked just 100 meters from a spot where the Irish Republican Army had detonated a lorry bomb in 1996. Suicide bombers would have detonated themselves as shoppers fled the area.
Authorities also later uncovered other plans to attack the subway system in New York City, as well as a newspaper organization in Copenhagen, Denmark.
During the sentencing, US District Judge Raymond Dearie noted that although Naseer demonstrated courteousness and lacked any other criminal record prior, the innocent public needed to be protected from him.
“You’re…not a typical criminal. You’re a terrorist,” the Wall Street Journal quoted the judge as saying.
The judge had also expressed disappointment over how a person with a background like Naseer would end up as a terrorist criminal.
“I just don’t understand how someone such as he could engage in conduct such as this,” Judge Dearie said as he handed down the verdict short of a life sentence.