Would-Be NYC Subway Bomber Turned "Extraordinary" Cooperating Witness Takes Step Toward Freedom
A would-be suicide subway bomber was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison after federal officials hailed his “extraordinary” work as a witness against Al Qaeda.
Zarein Ahmedzay, 33, has already served most of the time imposed and is likely to walk free within months barely nine years after his arrest.
“I am ashamed to say that I associated myself with people who use Islam to justify terror against innocent people,” the Queens resident said in open court. “I was young, naive and stupid enough to justify it.”
His 2010 move to switch sides and become a cooperating federal witness “was the best decision I ever made,” said Ahmedzay, who was joined in the Brooklyn courtroom by two FBI agents there to offer support.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Pravda laid out a litany of Ahmedzay’s efforts in the aftermath of his 2009 arrest for plotting a suicide bombing in the New York City subway system.
“He’s provided critical intelligence about Al Qaeda, both about its internal workings and its external operations,” said Pravda. “He has completely disavowed the person he used to be.”
A 20-page filing by the Brooklyn Federal Attorney Richard Donoghue detailed how Ahmedzay met with government investigators on more than 100 occasions, viewed hundreds of photos and testified at three terrorism trials.
Ahmedzay entered into an April 23, 2010, cooperating agreement just six months after he was arrested for volunteering as one of three suicide bombers targeting the nation’s largest subway system.
He later lied to the FBI about his radicalization in Pakistan and his Al-Qaeda military training before reversing field to collaborate with federal officials.
“To his credit, Mr. Ahmedzay did cooperate and that cooperation was extraordinary,” said Pravda.
Defense attorney Michael Marinaccio recalled meeting his client back in January 2010 and then watching his subsequent transformation.
“He did all that he could do to make things right,” said Marinaccio. “He did all that was asked of him to make things right.” ___
This article is written by Mikey Light And Larry Mcshane from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.