Muslim ‘Chelsea Bomber’ Sentenced to Life in Prison

NEW YORK — A Muslim man who was convicted by a jury last year for planting several bombs in New York City and New Jersey has been sentenced to life in prison.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, 30, was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who also presided over Rahimi’s trial in October.

“Inspired by ISIS and al Qaeda, Ahmad Khan Rahimi planted and detonated bombs on the streets of Chelsea, and in New Jersey, intending to kill and maim as many innocent people as possible,” said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in a statement released by the Department of Justice. “Less than a year-and-a-half after his attacks, Rahimi has now been tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. Rahimi’s conviction and sentencing are victories for New York City and our nation in the fight against terror.”

As previously reported, Rahami became a suspect in the September 2016 bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey after his fingerprints were found on explosive devices.

The first bomb believed to have been planted by Rahami exploded inside a trash can in Seaside Heights, New Jersey along the route of the Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K run.

“The start of the race—which was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m.—was delayed. Had the race started on time, the bomb would have detonated as runners were passing by where Rahimi had planted it,” the Department of Justice noted.

Hours later, a pressure cooker bomb attached to a flip phone exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, injuring 30. Injuries included lacerations, embedded shrapnel in the skin and head injuries. Another explosive device was located blocks away, which had failed to detonate.

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The following day, five bombs were discovered inside of a trash can near the Amtrak station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. One of the bombs detonated as the FBI used a robot to disarm the devices, but no one was hurt.

Rahami was captured days later in a shootout with police after the owner of a local bar called 911 to advise that he found someone sleeping outside of his establishment. Authorities also discovered that Rahimi was carrying a journal, which spoke of his plans to carry out the attacks.

“Written in the journal were, among other things, mentions of explosive devices (including ‘The sounds of bombs will be heard in the streets’ and ‘Bombs set off in the streets they plan to run a mile’), and laudatory references to Usama Bin Laden, the former leader of al Qaeda, Anwar al-Awlaki, a former senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Mohammed al-Adnani, a former senior leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham, and Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people in Foot Hood, Texas,” the Department of Justice outlined.

Rahimi was indicted in November 2016, being charged with one count of using a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of bombing a public place, one count of destroying property by means of fire or explosive and one count of attempting to destroy property by means of fire or explosive.

He was also charged with interstate transportation and receipt of explosives, as well as two counts of “using of a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence, namely, the use and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.”

After being found guilty of all counts in October, Rahimi was sentenced on Tuesday to two life sentences plus 30 years, with several of his victims being present.

“You have no remorse,” lamented Pauline Nelson, according to NBC News. “God forgive you.”

“Committing terrorism may seem, from the darkest places of the internet and espoused in propaganda, as a higher calling. It is not,” Commissioner James O’Neill of the New York Police Department said in a statement. “Today’s sentencing—of life in prison—should be the strongest deterrent to future acts of terror. My thanks to the police officers from the 13th precinct, NYPD detectives, investigators on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and prosecutors here in Manhattan for making today’s sentencing possible.”

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