Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, who botched an attempted car-bombing in Times Square on May 1 this year, pleaded guilty to all charges against him in a New York court and was defiant as he described himself as a “mujahideen” who was part of a “war” against the United States.
Before he entered his plea, the 30-year-old Shahzad told the presiding judge Miriam Cedarbaum that he wanted to “plead guilty 100 times” and unless the United States pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq and stopped drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan and Yemen and “stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the United States.”
Shahzad has been charged on ten counts and six of those offenses carry with them a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. These include the attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction; conspiracy to use a WMD and attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries, among others. Shahzad faces multiple life sentences.
While Shahzad has cooperated with American investigators, there has been no plea bargain agreement between him and US prosecutors, in contrast to David Coleman Headley in Chicago. In fact, prosecutors in New York, headed by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Indian-American Preet Bharara, are expected to seek the maximum sentence against him.
When the judge asked him whether he had taken into account the possibility of innocent children being killed if his attack had succeeded, he referred to American drone strikes, and added, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”
When asked whether he realised that he had committed crimes, Shahzad responded, “I do realise it is a violation of law in the US, but I do not care about the laws in the US.”
Shahzad also affirmed that he had worked closely with the Pakistan Taliban in carrying out the attack.