The Pakistani-American man who loaded a van with explosives in May and parked it in New York's Times Square, hoping to kill Americans, was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Silence filled the packed courtroom as Faizal Shahzad was led in handcuffs by federal marshals into the chamber to be sentenced for the 10 weapons and terrorism charges to which he pleaded guilty in June.
District court judge Miriam Goldman-Cedarbaum offered Shahzad the opportunity to make a statement before pronouncing his sentence. Shahzad told the judge that her sentence meant nothing to him, saying, "How can this court judge me without understanding the suffering of my people?" Presumably, Shahzad was referring to Muslims.
An avowed jihadist, Shahzad criticized the United States for attempting to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan. He warned Americans to brace themselves, saying, "The war with Muslims has just begun. Defeat is imminent."
VOA correspondent Adam Phillips discusses the judge's decision from the New York City Court House:
Judge Goldman-Cedarbaum reminded Shahzad that when he became a U.S. citizen, he took a solemn oath to defend America but that on May 9, he attempted to kill them. Shahzad received explosives training in Pakistan in December 2009 from a group affiliated with the Taliban.
Goldman-Cedarbaum sentenced him to life in prison without parole. Before Shahzad was led away, the judge said, "you appear to be somebody who was capable of education and I do hope that you will spend lots of time in prison thinking if the Quran wants you to kill people."
At a press conference following the sentencing, U.S, Attorney Preet Bharara was satisfied that Shahzad will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"So he's no longer a threat," said Bharara. "The ongoing and important challenge for us is to make sure we get the next Shahzad before he does us real harm."
Shahzad did not express remorse for his crimes. He told the court that he is "happy for the deal" that God has given him.