Akayed Ullah, a Bangladeshi immigrant who detonated a pipe bomb in 2017 in the name of ISIS, has now been sentenced to life in prison. Ullah had only managed to seriously injure himself and injure some other people in his bombing attempt, in what was called nothing short of a miracle at the time. On April 22, Ullah was sentenced to life imprisonment by a federal judge who rejected his request for mercy.
“This was a calculated, premeditated decision to kill as many people as you could,” the judge, Richard J. Sullivan, said, “all in the name of an organization that is dedicated to spreading terror.”
The fact that Mr. Ullah had failed to execute his plan did not make him any less culpable or his intent less sinister, the judge said. “This is about as serious a crime as there is,” Judge Sullivan added.
One of the bomber’s victims, David Wall, also wrote letters to the judge about his persisting anxiety problems because of the bomb blast.
“At times, I leave the subway system abruptly because my heart is racing and I just can’t breathe,” he wrote. “Never am I relaxed on mass transit anymore. My eyes constantly rove around my fellow passengers looking for a person carrying a bomb.”
Ullah was convicted of his charges in 2018 which included using a weapon of mass destruction, bombing a public transportation system, and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, ISIS. The bombing was the first attempted suicide attack in New York City since 9/11.
“Ullah’s motive was clear and unambiguous: a deeply held ideological hatred for America,” said Audrey Strauss, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan.
According to a letter Strauss sent to the judge, Ullah was deeply radicalized, chillingly warning his correctional officer just two weeks after his failed bombing, “You started this war, we will finish it. More is coming, you’ll see.”
After the attack, law enforcement had searched Ullah’s apartment pursuant to a search warrant. Agents recovered, among other things, Ullah’s passport, which contained the handwritten statement, “O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE.” Less than two weeks before carrying out the attack, Ullah had watched and drawn inspiration from a particular ISIS propaganda video that proclaimed, “die in your rage, America,” with an image of the U.S. Congress in the background.