News

    Trial Opens for Alleged New York Bomb Plotter

    In this Jan. 9, 2010 courtroom file sketch, defendant Adis Medunjanin, right, accused of becoming an al-Qaida operative, sits with his defense attorney Robert Gottlieb at the federal courthouse in New York.
    In this Jan. 9, 2010 courtroom file sketch, defendant Adis Medunjanin, right, accused of becoming an al-Qaida operative, sits with his defense attorney Robert Gottlieb at the federal courthouse in New York.
    Carolyn Weaver

    A Bosnian immigrant accused in a subway bombing terrorism plot has gone on trial in federal court in New York City. He faces life in prison if convicted on all nine counts, including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction.

    A federal jury in Brooklyn is hearing the terrorism case against 27-year-old Bosnian-born Adis Medunjanin, who allegedly conspired with two former high school friends to bomb New York subways in 2009.

    Medunjanin is accused of nine counts of terrorism, including receiving bomb-making training in Pakistan with Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, both of whom have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with federal prosecutors.

    The case opened Monday with a day of testimony from Ahmedzay, who described traveling to Pakistan with Medunjanin and Zazi intending to fight with the Taliban against American forces in Afghanistan. Once there, he said, they were taken instead to an al-Qaida training camp in northwestern Pakistan and urged to carry out a suicide mission in the United States. The men agreed, and after returning to the U.S., Zazi began assembling ingredients for the bombs, including nail polish remover and peroxide from beauty supply stores.

    Ahmedzay testified they discussed potential targets with their al-Qaida handlers in Pakistan, including Times Square, the New York Stock Exchange, Grand Central Station and Pennsylvania Station, but did not settle on a definite one. The goal, he said, was to strike a crowded subway station during rush hour, to maximize civilian casualties.

    Karen Greenberg, a terrorism expert with Fordham University Law School, said the case is different because it was not a sting operation set in motion by the government.

    "You know, we've seen FBI sting after FBI sting, in a number of courtrooms, as opposed to plots that were interrupted or plots that actually happened or something that didn't involve the FBI, and that therefore did pose a danger to the United States," she said. "As you know, in the FBI sting cases, the FBI has control of the case, they often provide the weapons, so there's not really a worry of somebody getting hurt."

    Medunjanin, whose family fled Bosnia-Herzegovina for the New York borough of Queens in the 1990s, was a devout Muslim, according to his former friend. His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said Medunjanin never intended to hurt anyone when he crashed his car into another vehicle on a New York City bridge just after calling a police emergency line to say that he "loved death more than you love your life."

    Prosecutors termed that a jihadist slogan, but Gottlieb told the jury that Medunjanin meant only to kill himself, rather than be falsely branded as a Muslim terrorist.

    Medunjanin's other confessed co-conspirator, Najibullah Zazi, is expected to take the stand Tuesday to testify against his former friend.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora