A Queens man, Ahmed Ferhani, was convicted of plotting to bomb synagogues and churches in New York and sentenced on Friday, March 15 to ten years in state prison and five years of probation. He could have faced up to twenty-five years, had he not submitted to a plea.
Ferhani, 28 and Algerian-born, was first arrested in May 2011 after an eight-month undercover operation. In December 2012, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges including conspiracy to commit crimes of terrorism and criminal possession of a weapon.
Between October 2010 and May 2011, Ferhani conspired to bomb synagogues and churches in Manhattan to send a message of violence to non-Muslims, including American Jews and Christians, according to his guilty plea.
In December 2011, Ferhani admitted, "I intended to create chaos and send a message of intimidation and coercion to the Jewish population of New York City, warning them to stop mistreating Muslims."
Ferhani had told an undercover detective that he was selling drugs to fund his big plan.
According to defense lawyer, Lamis Deek, Ferhani suffers from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. He wept in the courtroom and vowed to strengthen his mind and character during his time behind bars.
"My spirit has not been broken and will never be," Ferhani told the judge.
Though prosecutors asked for fourteen years, the judge agreed to ten, saying, "I am certainly hopeful that you will not be a threat to anybody at any time while you are in custody, out of custody, and in whatever country you may be living [after deportation]."
Ferhani is the first terrorist to be convicted on state terror laws put in place after the 9/11 attacks.
Charges against Ferhani's accomplice, Mohamed Mamdouh, are still pending.