Federal Prosecutors Seek Life Sentence For Failed NYC Subway Bomber

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that a Bangladeshi immigrant who attempted to set off a full pipe bomb attached to his chest in a 2017 attack in New York City should be jailed for life.

The prosecutors argued that Akayed Ullah, 31, has not been met with the appropriate punishment for an attempted suicide bombing beneath a Times Square subway station in December 2017. Ullah's bomb failed to fully explode, leaving him with severe burns and causing minor harm to people around him.

He was arrested for the attack and is set to face a 35-year prison sentence on April 8, the Associated Press reported. But according to papers filed in federal court in Manhattan, the government wants Ullah to spend the rest of his life in prison.

"He ultimately answered ISIS' call for its supporters to carry out 'lone-wolf' terrorist attacks in the United States. Ullah's attack was premeditated and vicious," the prosecutors wrote.

The prosecutors added that a life sentence is "necessary and appropriate to reflect the abhorrent nature and extreme seriousness of Ullah's terrorist bombing," AP reported.

NYC
New York City police stand on a corner in Times Square a day after a man prematurely detonated a suicide bomb in the nearby Port Authority Bus Terminal on December 12, 2017. A day after the would-be suicide attacker, Akayed Ullah, detonated a pipe bomb strapped to his body, much of Manhattan was back to normal despite a higher police presence. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

After growing angry at American foreign policy in the Middle East, Ullah grew consumed by online Islamic State propaganda "glorifying brutally violent stabbings, shootings, and bombings targeting Americans," prosecutors told a judge in a sentencing memo. "He ultimately answered ISIS's call for its supporters to carry out 'lone-wolf' terrorist attacks in the United States. Ullah's attack was premeditated and vicious."

The papers cited evidence that after surviving the bombing, "Ullah proudly declared to law enforcement that he carried out the bombing for ISIS." While in jail, he told a guard, "You started this war, we will finish it. More is coming, you'll see," the papers said.

The government's request comes a week after lawyers for Ullah argued in their own papers that a mandatory 35-year prison term is punishment enough because his attack was an aberration from an otherwise peaceful life. He's scheduled to be sentenced on April 8.

At trial, prosecutors showed jurors Ullah's post-arrest statements and social media comments, including when he taunted then-President Donald Trump on Facebook before the attack.

Hours after Ullah's bombing attempt, Trump derided the immigration system that had allowed Ullah—and many law-abiding Bangladeshis—to enter the U.S.

Ullah got an entry visa in 2011 because he had an uncle who was already a U.S. citizen. Trump said allowing foreigners to follow relatives to the U.S. was "incompatible with national security."